Physical declines occurring after hospital discharge in ARDS survivors: a 5-year longitudinal study

Elizabeth R. Pfoh, Amy W. Wozniak, Elizabeth Colantuoni, Victor D. Dinglas, Pedro A. Mendez-Tellez, Carl Shanholtz, Nancy D. Ciesla, Peter J. Pronovost, Dale M. Needham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Purpose: Survivors of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are at high risk for new or ongoing physical declines after hospital discharge. The objective of our study was to evaluate the epidemiology of physical declines over 5-year follow-up and identify patients at risk for decline. Methods: This multi-site prospective cohort study evaluated ARDS survivors who completed a physical status assessment at 3 or 6 months post-discharge. Three measures were evaluated: muscle strength (Medical Resource Council sumscore); exercise capacity [6-min walk test (6MWT)]; physical functioning [36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36 survey)]. Patients were defined as “declined” if a comparison of their current and prior score showed a decrease that was greater than the Reliable Change Index—or if the patient died. Risk factors [pre-ARDS baseline status, intensive care unit (ICU) illness severity, and other intensive care variables] were evaluated using longitudinal, generalized linear regression models for each measure. Results: During the follow-up of 193 ARDS survivors (55 % male; median age 49 years), 166 (86 %) experienced decline in ≥1 physical measure (including death) and 133 (69 %) experienced a physical decline (excluding death). For all measures, age was a significant risk factor [odds ratios (OR) 1.34–1.69 per decade; p < 0.001]. Pre-ARDS comorbidity (Charlson Index) was independently associated with declines in strength and exercise capacity (OR 1.10 and 1.18, respectively; p < 0.02), and organ failure [maximum daily Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score in ICU] was associated with declines in strength (OR 1.06 per 1 point of SOFA score; p = 0.02). Conclusions: Over the follow-up period, the majority of ARDS survivors experienced a physical decline, with older age and pre-ICU comorbidity being important risk factors for this decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1557-1566
Number of pages10
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Intensive care unit
  • Physical function
  • Recovery of function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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