Health-related quality of life and days alive without life support or out of hospital: Protocol

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2022 Feb;66(2):295-301. doi: 10.1111/aas.14001. Epub 2021 Dec 4.


Background: Mortality is often the primary outcome in randomised clinical trials (RCTs) conducted in critically ill patients. Due to increased awareness on survivors after critical illness and outcomes other than mortality, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and days alive without life support (DAWOLS) or days alive and out of hospital (DAAOOH) are increasingly being used. DAWOLS and DAAOOH convey more information than mortality, are easier to collect than HRQoL, and are usually assessed at earlier time points, which may be preferable in some situations. However, the associations between DAWOLS-DAAOOH and HRQoL are uncertain.

Methods: We will assess associations between DAWOLS-DAAOOH at day 28 and 90 (independent variables/predictors) and HRQoL assessed using the EuroQol EQ-5D-5L questionnaire (EQ-VAS and EQ-5D-5L index values) at 6 or 12 months (dependent variables) in two RCTs: the COVID STEROID 2 RCT conducted in adult patients with COVID-19 and severe hypoxaemia and the Handling Oxygenation Targets in the Intensive Care Unit (HOT-ICU) RCT conducted in adult intensive care patients with acute hypoxaemic respiratory failure. We will describe associations using best-fitting fractional polynomial transformations separately in each dataset, with the resulting models presented and assessed in both datasets graphically and using measures of fit and prediction adequacy (i.e., internal performance and external validation). We will use multiple imputation if missingness exceeds 5%.

Discussion: The outlined study will provide important knowledge on the associations between DAWOLS-DAAOOH and HRQoL in adult critically ill patients, which may help researchers and clinical trialists prioritise and select outcomes in future RCTs conducted in this population.

Keywords: critical care; critical illness; days alive and out of hospital; days alive without life support; health-related quality of life; outcome selection; randomised clinical trials.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Surveys and Questionnaires