Compared with noncardiac critical illness, critically ill postoperative cardiac surgical patients have different underlying pathophysiologies, are exposed to different processes of care, and thus may experience different outcome trajectories. Our objective was to systematically review the outcomes of cardiac surgical patients requiring prolonged intensive care with respect to survival, residential status, functional recovery, and quality of life in both hospital and long-term follow-up.
MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, Web of Science, and Dissertations and Theses Global up to July 21, 2017.
Studies were included if they assessed hospital or long-term survival and/or patient-centered outcomes in adult patients with prolonged ICU stays following major cardiac surgery. After screening 10,159 citations, 114 articles were reviewed in full; a final 34 articles met criteria for data extraction.
Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed risk of bias using the National Institutes of Health Quality Assessment Tool for Observational Studies. Extracted data included the used definition of prolonged ICU stay, number and characteristics of prolonged ICU stay patients, and any comparator short stay group, length of follow-up, hospital and long-term survival, residential status, patient-centered outcome measure used, and relevant score.
The definition of prolonged ICU stay varied from 2 days to greater than 14 days. Twenty-eight studies observed greater in-hospital mortality among all levels of prolonged ICU stay. Twenty-five studies observed greater long-term mortality among all levels of prolonged ICU stay. Multiple tools were used to assess patient-centered outcomes. Long-term health-related quality of life and function was equivalent or worse with prolonged ICU stay.
We found consistent evidence that patients with increases in ICU length of stay beyond 48 hours have significantly increasing risk of hospital and long-term mortality. The significant heterogeneity in exposure and outcome definitions leave us unable to precisely quantify the risk of prolonged ICU stay on mortality and patient-centered outcomes.
1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
2Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
3Division of Cardiac Anesthesiology, University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
4Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
5School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
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Supported, in part, by the University of Ottawa Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine for provision of Distiller SR software.
The authors have disclosed that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest.
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