Impairments, activity limitations and restrictions experienced in the 1st year following a critical illness

Critical illness requiring intensive care unit (ICU) management is a life-altering event with ∼25% of ICU survivors experiencing persistent reductions in physical functioning, impairments in mental health, cognitive dysfunction and decreased quality of life. This constellation of problems is known as ‘postintensive care syndrome’ (PICS) and may persist for months and/or years. The purpose of this systematic review is to identify the scope and magnitude of physical problems associated with PICS during the first year after discharge from ICU, using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health framework to elucidate the impairments of body functions and structures, activity limitations and participation restrictions.

Medline (Ovid), Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (Ovid), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Ovid), PubMed, CINAHL (EBSCO), Web of Science and EMBASE will be systematically searched for observational studies reporting the physical impairments of body functions and structures, activity limitations and participation restrictions associated with PICS. Two reviewers will assess the articles for eligibility according to prespecified selection criteria, after which an independent reviewer will perform data extraction which will be validated by a second independent reviewer. Quality appraisal will be performed by two independent reviewers. Outcomes of the included studies will be summarised in tables and in narrative format and meta-analyses will be conducted where appropriate.

Formal ethical approval is not required as no primary data is collected. This systematic review will identify the scope and magnitude of physical problems associated with PICS during the first year after discharge from ICU and will be disseminated through a peer-reviewed publication and at conference meetings, to inform practice and future research on the physical problems associated with PICS.

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