Understanding Patients' Perceived Health After Critical Illness: Analysis of Two Prospective, Longitudinal Studies of ARDS Survivors

Chest. 2022 Feb;161(2):407-417. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2021.07.2177. Epub 2021 Aug 19.


Background: Perceived health is one of the strongest determinants of subjective well-being, but it has received little attention among survivors of ARDS.

Research question: How well do self-reported measures of physical, emotional, and social functioning predict perceived overall health (measured using the EQ-5D visual analog scale [EQ-5D-VAS]) among adult survivors of ARDS? Are demographic features, comorbidity, or severity of illness correlated with perceived health after controlling for self-reported functioning?

Study design and methods: We analyzed the ARDSNet Long Term Outcomes Study (ALTOS) and Improving Care of Acute Lung Injury Patients (ICAP) Study, two longitudinal cohorts with a total of 823 survivors from 44 US hospitals, which prospectively assessed survivors at 6 and 12 months after ARDS. Perceived health, evaluated using the EQ-5D-VAS, was predicted using ridge regression and self-reported measures of physical, emotional, and social functioning. The difference between observed and predicted perceived health was termed perspective deviation (PD). Correlations between PD and demographics, comorbidities, and severity of illness were explored.

Results: The correlation between observed and predicted EQ-5D-VAS scores ranged from 0.68 to 0.73 across the two cohorts and time points. PD ranged from -80 to +34 and was more than the minimum clinically important difference for 52% to 55% of survivors. Neither demographic features, comorbidity, nor severity of illness were correlated strongly with PD, with |r| < 0.25 for all continuous variables in both cohorts and time points. The correlation between PD at 6- and 12-month assessments was weak (ALTOS: r = 0.22, P < .001; ICAP: r = 0.20, P = .02).

Interpretation: About half of survivors of ARDS showed clinically important differences in actual perceived health vs predicted perceived health based on self-reported measures of functioning. Survivors of ARDS demographic features, comorbidities, and severity of illness were correlated only weakly with perceived health after controlling for measures of perceived functioning, highlighting the challenge of predicting how individual patients will respond psychologically to new impairments after critical illness.

Keywords: critical care outcomes; functional status; respiratory distress syndrome; survivorship.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Critical Illness
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / therapy*
  • Self Report
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • United States