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Long-term Survival After Surgical Intensive Care Unit Admission: Fifty Percent Die Within 10 Years

Timmers, Tim K. MD*; Verhofstad, Michiel H. MD, PhD; Moons, Karel G. MSc, PhD; Leenen, Luke P. MD, PhD*

doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e3181ff45df
Original Study

Objective: Treatment of surgical patients in intensive care unit (ICU) comes along with major disadvantages, which have to be justified by some acceptable short- and long-term outcomes. Short-term effects of treatment in ICU have been well-documented. The aims of this study were to quantify the long-term survival of more than 10 years' follow-up of a large cohort of patients admitted to a surgical ICU and to investigate the effects of age, gender, and underlying disease on this long-term survival.

Patients/Methods: Of all surgical patients admitted to the ICU of the St Elisabeth hospital between 1995 and 2000, patient characteristics, disease category, APACHE II score, and survival were prospectively registered. A follow-up with a mean of 8 years after discharge was achieved. The independent association of multiple covariates was done using cox proportional hazard analysis.

Results: Of the 1822 patients included, 936 (51%) had died within 11 years and 52 patients were lost to follow-up. Overall ICU and in-hospital mortality were 11% and 16%, respectively. Age, gender, APACHE II score, the need for dialysis, and surgical classification were independently associated with long-term survival. Mortality increased with age of admittance to the ICU (hazard ratio, 1.058), whereas female patients had a lower chance to die (hazard ratio, 0.793). However, the preadmission disease did not influence long-term outcome. Long-term mortality rates in various surgical classification groups varied between 29% for trauma and 80% for gastrointestinal patients. In gastrointestinal, oncological, general surgical, and/or high-aged patients, a negative effect on mortality persisted beyond 5 years. The mortality ratio was increased twofold in comparison to the general population (51% vs 27%).

Conclusion: Ten years after ICU discharge, survival was only 50%. After ICU treatment, survival follows distinct patterns in which age, gender, surgical classification, the need of dialysis, and APACHE II score are independent determinants, and long lasting.

The aims of this study were to quantify the long-term survival of more than 10 years' follow-up of a large cohort of patients admitted to a surgical intensive care unit and to investigate the effects of age, gender, and underlying disease on this long-term survival.

*Department of Surgery, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Department of Surgery, St Elisabeth Hospital, Tilburg, the Netherlands.

Reprints: T.K. Timmers, MD, Department of Surgery, University Medical Center Utrecht, PO box 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, the Netherlands. E-mail: tk.timmers@gmail.com.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.