Intensivists frequently are concerned about whether octogenarians actually will benefit from ICU admission. We studied changes in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) 6 months following ICU discharge in those patients.
We performed a long-term prospective study in a medical-surgical ICU. Patients aged ≥ 80 years (n = 129) and < 80 years (n = 620) admitted for > 48 h were included. We used the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short form (SF-36) to evaluate HRQOL before ICU admission (using proxies), at ICU discharge, at hospital discharge, and at 3 and 6 months following ICU discharge, using a linear mixed model.
At 6 months after ICU discharge, 49 patients aged ≥ 80 years and 352 patients aged < 80 years could be evaluated. At ICU discharge, physical functioning was far lower than mental functioning (physical component score, 24.9; mental component score, 46.1) in the octogenerians. Most SF-36 dimensions showed significant improvement over time (all P < .01, except role-emotional [P = .038] and bodily pain [P = .77]). In the octogenarians, mean SF-36 scores 6 months after ICU discharge were comparable to baseline in all dimensions. Most dimensions of the SF-36 were not significantly lower in surviving octogenarians at 6 months after ICU discharge compared with the normal population.
We demonstrated a good recovery of HRQOL in octogenarians surviving critical illness. The findings suggest that denying admission to the ICU should not just rely on old age.