The influence of hospitalization or intensive care unit admission on declines in health-related quality of life

Laura C. Feemster, Colin R. Cooke, Gordon D. Rubenfeld, Catherine L. Hough, William J. Ehlenbach, David H. Au, Vincent S. Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Rationale: Survivors of critical illness report impaired health-related quality of life (HRQoL) after hospital discharge, but the degree to which these impairments are attributable to critical illness is unknown. Objectives: We sought to examine changes in HRQoL associated with an intensive care unit (ICU) stay and the differential association of type of hospitalization (critical illness versus noncritical illness) on changes in HRQoL. Methods: We identified 11,243 participants in the Ambulatory Care Quality Improvement Project (a multicenter randomized trial of Veterans conducted March 1997 to August 2000) completing at least two Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 36 questionnaires over 2 years, and categorized patients by hospitalization status during the interval between measures. We used multiple linear regression with generalized estimating equations for analysis. Measurements and Main Results: Our primary outcome was change in the Physical Component Summary score. Participants requiring hospitalization or ICU admission had significantly worse baseline HRQoL than those not hospitalized (P < 0.001). Compared with patients who were not hospitalized, follow-up Physical Component Summary scores were lower among non-ICU hospitalized patients and ICU patients (adjusted β-coefficient = -1.40 [95% confidence interval, -1.81, -0.99] and adjusted β-coefficient = -1.53 [95% confidence interval, -2.11, -0.95], respectively), with no difference between the two groups (P value = 0.80). Similar results were seen for the Mental Component Summary score and each of the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 36 subdomains. Conclusions: Prehospital HRQoL is a significant determinant of HRQoL after hospitalization or ICU admission. Hospitalization is associated with increased risk of impairment in HRQoL after discharge, yet the overall magnitude of this reduction is small and similar between non-ICU hospitalized and critically ill patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cohort studies
  • Critical illness
  • Intensive care units
  • Outcome assessment (health care)
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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