Long-term outcome of elderly patients requiring intensive care admission for abdominal pathologies: survival and quality of life

P Merlani, C Chenaud, N Mariotti, B Ricou
Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica 2007, 51 (5): 530-7

BACKGROUND: Medical developments have allowed the management of patients aged over 70 years with severe abdominal pathologies requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission. These patients require enhanced life support and present a high ICU mortality. We investigated the outcome and quality of life (QOL) of elderly patients 2 years after their ICU stay for abdominal pathologies.

METHODS: Patients aged 70 years or over with abdominal pathologies, admitted to our ICU over a period of 2 years, were included. Two years following their ICU stay, a letter informed the patients about the present study. Consent to participate was obtained by telephone. QOL was assessed by the Euro-QOL and Short Form-36 questionnaires. Other patient-centered outcomes were evaluated.

RESULTS: Overall, 2780 patients were admitted to the ICU during the study period; 141 (5%) patients were eligible; 112 of the 141 (79%) survived their ICU stay, 95 (67%) survived their hospital stay and 52 (37%) were alive 2 years after their ICU stay; 36 of the 52 survivors (69%) answered the questionnaire. Their QOL 2 years after their ICU stay was decreased in comparison with an age-matched population. Eighty-one per cent of patients lived at home and 57% were totally independent. They perceived their ICU stay as positive and 75% stated that they would agree to go through intensive care again. Factors associated with 2-year survival were the absence of co-morbidity, absence of malignancy and a lower Simplified Acute Physiology II score on ICU admission.

CONCLUSIONS: A high mortality rate and a decrease in QOL were observed in elderly patients with severe abdominal pathologies. Nonetheless, these patients were able to adapt well to their physical disabilities.

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