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Minerva Anestesiologica 2013 November;79(11):1306-12


language: English

Mental and physical disability after sepsis

Jones C. 1, Griffiths R. D. 2

1 Critical Care Rehabilitation, Ward 4E (Critical Care), Whiston Hospital, Prescot, UK; 2 Intensive Care, Department of Musculoskeletal Biology, Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK


Sepsis remains a major cause of admissions to Intensive Care Units (ICU) and has a high mortality rates and significant morbidity in survivors. There are physical, cognitive and psychological sequelae from severe sepsis that have a negative effect on the patients’ health related quality of life in the longer term and a social care and humanitarian impact. Although muscle mass loss during the septic period happens very quickly, recovery takes a considerable time and requires the patient to commit to exercising and eating well to rebuild. Where cognitive impairment has resulted from the septic illness the patients’ ability to look after themselves may be affected and this has financial and family implications for future care. Patients may also develop psychological problems such as anxiety, depression or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can have a profound effect on their everyday functioning and the possibility of returning to work. As yet there are no published studies of rehabilitation with patients surviving severe sepsis, although there is one in progress at the moment. The use of techniques such as ICU diaries to help patients to understand their illness and deal with delusional memories they may have from their ICU stay has been shown to aid psychological recovery in general ICU patients, a percentage of whom will have suffered from sepsis. The use of a self-guided manualised 6 week rehabilitation program, the ICU Recovery Manual, has been shown to accelerate physical recovery in general ICU patients. Considerable amounts of money are spent treating patients with severe sepsis in ICU and not completing the job of returning them to as close as possible to their normal functioning does not make financial sense.

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