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Long-term survival after intensive care unit discharge in Thailand: a retrospective study

Nantasit Luangasanatip12*, Maliwan Hongsuwan1, Yoel Lubell13, Direk Limmathurotsakul14, Prapit Teparrukkul5, Sirirat Chaowarat6, Nicholas P J Day13, Nicholas Graves27 and Ben S Cooper13

Author Affiliations

1 Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

2 School of Public Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

3 Centre for Tropical Medicine, Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

4 Department of Tropical Hygiene, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

5 Department of Medicine, Sappasithiprasong Hospital, Ubon Ratchatani, Thailand

6 Department of Nursing, Sappasithiprasong Hospital, Ubon Ratchatani, Thailand

7 Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

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Critical Care 2013, 17:R219  doi:10.1186/cc13036

Published: 3 October 2013



Economic evaluations of interventions in the hospital setting often rely on the estimated long-term impact on patient survival. Estimates of mortality rates and long-term outcomes among patients discharged alive from the intensive care unit (ICU) are lacking from lower- and middle-income countries. This study aimed to assess the long-term survival and life expectancy (LE) amongst post-ICU patients in Thailand, a middle-income country.


In this retrospective cohort study, data from a regional tertiary hospital in northeast Thailand and the regional death registry were linked and used to assess patient survival time after ICU discharge. Adult ICU patients aged at least 15 years who had been discharged alive from an ICU between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2005 were included in the study, and the death registry was used to determine deaths occurring in this cohort up to 31st December 2010. These data were used in conjunction with standard mortality life tables to estimate annual mortality and life expectancy.


This analysis included 10,321 ICU patients. During ICU admission, 3,251 patients (31.5%) died. Of 7,070 patients discharged alive, 2,527 (35.7%) were known to have died within the five-year follow-up period, a mortality rate 2.5 times higher than that in the Thai general population (age and sex matched). The mean LE was estimated as 18.3 years compared with 25.2 years in the general population.


Post-ICU patients experienced much higher rates of mortality than members of the general population over the five-year follow-up period, particularly in the first year after discharge. Further work assessing Health Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) in both post-ICU patients and in the general population in developing countries is needed.