Prevalence, Location, and Characteristics of Chronic Pain in Intensive Care Survivors

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Abstract

Background:

A growing number of studies have addressed the long-term consequences of intensive care unit (ICU) treatment, but few have studied the prevalence of chronic pain and pain characteristics longitudinally.

Aims:

The goal of the work described here was to investigate the prevalence and characteristics of chronic pain in ICU survivors 3 months and 1 year after ICU discharge and to identify risk factors for chronic pain 1 year after ICU discharge.

Design:

The design used was an explorative and longitudinal study.

Setting/Patients:

The patients in this work had stayed >48 hours in two mixed ICUs in Oslo University Hospital, a tertiary referral hospital.

Methods:

Patients completed a survey questionnaire 3 months and 1 year after ICU discharge. Pain was assessed using the Brief Pain Inventory–Short Form.

Results:

At 3 months after discharge, 58 of 118 ICU survivors (49.2%) reported pain, and at 1 year after discharge, 34 of 89 survivors (38.2%) reported pain. The most common sites of pain at 3 months were the shoulder and abdomen; the shoulder remained the second most common site at 1 year. There was an increase in the interference of pain with daily life at 1 year. Possible risk factors for chronic pain at 1 year were increased severity of illness, organ failure, ventilator time >12 days, and ICU length of stay >15 days. The most common sites of pain were not linked to the admission diagnosis.

Conclusions:

These findings may enable health care providers to improve care and rehabilitation for this patient group.

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