Theodore J. Iwashyna, MD, PhD
Grant Support: By the National Institutes of Health (grant K08HL091249).
Potential Conflicts of Interest: Disclosures can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M10-1344.
Requests for Single Reprints: Theodore J. Iwashyna, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, 3A23 300 NIB, SPC 5419, 300 North Ingalls Building, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5419; e-mail, email@example.com.
Iwashyna T.; Survivorship Will Be the Defining Challenge of Critical Care in the 21st Century. Ann Intern Med. 2010;153:204-205. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-153-3-201008030-00013
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(3):204-205.
Distracted by the high mortality rate of critical illness, we tend to overlook the essential fact that most patients survive the intensive care unit (ICU). Every year, millions of patients are discharged from the ICU to face the challenges of critical illness survivorship—the complex burdens and legacies of surviving a potentially fatal disease, often after harsh and painful treatment.
The emerging picture of critical illness survivorship is deeply disturbing. In the year or two after discharge, patients are ravaged. They cannot walk. They cannot think clearly. They suffer from posttraumatic psychiatric syndromes. Their bodies hurt, are disfigured, and refuse to function like they did before. Many intensivists have a file of heartbreaking letters from former patients, grateful to be alive but desperate for help in getting their lives back.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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