Self-perceived recovery and quality of life in elderly patients surviving ICU-admission for abdominal sepsis

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Introduction Concern for loss of physical performance and Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) may raise doubts regarding the meaningfulness of an Intensive Care (ICU) admission in elderly patients. We evaluated self-perceived long-term recovery and satisfaction in elderly surviving an abdominal sepsis related ICU-admission and related this to objective measures of HRQoL. Methods A cross-sectional survey study was performed in all ICU-survivors with age >= 70 admitted with abdominal sepsis. HRQoL, frailty and self-perceived long-term recovery were measured using the EQ-5D-3L, Groningen Frailty Indicator, and a self-developed questionnaire, respectively. Results Of 144 patients admitted, 48 were alive at follow up (2.42 [0.92; 3.83] years), and 29 (60%) returned the survey. Eleven patients out of 29 (38%) recovered to baseline functioning, and reported higher HRQoL compared to unrecovered patients (0.861 [0.807; 1.000] and 0.753 [0.499; 0.779] respectively, p=0.005). Of the unrecovered patients, 53% were satisfied with their functioning, and 94% were willing to return to ICU. Conclusions Mortality in elderly patients with abdominal sepsis is high and ICU-admission should be weighed carefully. However, despite substantial functional decline in survivors, it does not necessarily cause self-perceived unsatisfactory functioning, poor HRQoL and unwillingness to receive life-sustaining therapy again. Caution is advised to use an anticipated loss of functioning as an argument to deny an ICU-admission.
Original languageEnglish
Article number08850666211052460
Pages (from-to)970-978
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number7
Early online date10 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Elderly
  • ICU-admission
  • abdominal sepsis
  • functional outcome
  • health-related quality of life
  • shared decision-making
  • RISK

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