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Intensive care unit acquired infection has no impact on long-term survival or quality of life: a prospective cohort study

Pekka Ylipalosaari1*, Tero I Ala-Kokko2, Jouko Laurila2, Pasi Ohtonen3 and Hannu Syrjälä1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Infection Control, Oulu University Hospital, P.O. Box 22, FIN-90029 OYS, Finland

2 Department of Anesthesiology, Division of Intensive Care, Oulu University Hospital, P.O. Box 22, FIN-90029 OYS, Finland

3 Departments of Anesthesiology and Surgery, Oulu University Hospital, P.O. Box 22, FIN-90029 OYS, Finland

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Critical Care 2007, 11:R35  doi:10.1186/cc5718

Published: 9 March 2007

Abstract

Introduction

The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of intensive care unit (ICU)-acquired infection on long-term survival and quality of life.

Methods

Long-term survival was prospectively evaluated among hospital survivors who had stayed in a mixed, university-level ICU for longer than 48 hours during a 14-month study period during 2002 to 2003. Health-related quality of life was assessed using the five-dimensional EuroQol (EQ-5D) questionnaire in January 2005.

Results

Of the 272 hospital survivors, 83 (30.5%) died after discharge during the follow-up period. The median follow-up time after hospital discharge was 22 months. Among patients without infection on admission, long-term mortality did not differ between patients who developed and those who did not develop an ICU-acquired infection (21.7% versus 26.9%; P = 0.41). Also, among patients with infection on admission, there was no difference in long-term mortality between patients who developed a superimposed (35.1%) and those who did not develop a superimposed (27.6%) ICU-acquired infection (P = 0.40). The EQ-5D response rate was 75 %. The patients who developed an ICU-acquired infection had significantly more problems with self-care (50%) than did those without an ICU-acquired infection (32%; P = 0.004), whereas multivariate analysis did not show ICU-acquired infection to be a significant risk factor for diminished self-care (odds ratio = 1.71, 95% confidence interval = 0.65–4.54; P = 0.28). General health status did not differ between those with and those without an ICU-acquired infection, as measured using the EuroQol visual-analogue scale (mean ± standard deviation EuroQol visual-analogue scale value: 60.2 ± 21 in patients without ICU-acquired infection versus 60.6 ± 22 in those with ICU-acquired infection). The current general level of health compared with status before ICU admission did not differ between the groups either. Only 36% of those employed resumed their previous jobs.

Conclusion

ICU-acquired infection had no impact on long-term survival. The patients with ICU-acquired infection more frequently experienced problems with self-care than did those without ICU infection, but ICU-acquired infection was not a significant risk factor for diminished self-care in multivariate analysis.