In-hospital acute stress symptoms are associated with impairment in cognition 1 year after intensive care unit admission

Dimitry S. Davydow, Douglas Zatzick, Catherine L. Hough, Wayne J. Katon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Rationale: Prior studies have found that cognitive dysfunction is common in intensive care unit (ICU) survivors. Yet, relatively little is known about potentially modifiable risk factors for longer-term post-ICU cognitive impairment. Objectives: To determine if in-hospital acute stress symptoms were associated with impaired 12-month cognitive functioning among ICU survivors. Methods: Weprospectively enrolled 150 nontrauma patientswithout cognitive impairment or a dementia diagnosiswho were admitted to an ICU for more than 24 hours. Patients were interviewed before hospital discharge and again via telephone at 12 months post-ICU. Measurements and Main Results: Demographics and clinical information were obtained through medical record reviews and in-person interviews. In-hospital acute stress symptoms were assessed with the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian Version. Twelve-month post-ICU cognition was assessed with the modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status. Follow-up interviews were completed with 120 (80%) patients. Patients' mean age at hospitalization was 48.2 years (SD, 13.7). In unadjusted analyses, a greater number of in-hospital acute stress symptoms was associated with significantly greater impairment in 12-month cognitive functioning (b, 20.1; 95% confidence interval, 20.2 to 20.004; P = 0.04). After adjusting for patient and clinical factors, in-hospital acute stress symptoms were independently associated with greater impairment in 12-month cognitive functioning (b,20.1; 95%CI,20.2 to 20.01; P = 0.03). Conclusions: In-hospital acute stress symptoms may be a potentially modifiable risk factor for greater impairment in cognitive functioning post-ICU. Early interventions for at-risk ICU survivors may improve longer-term outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)450-457
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute stress symptoms
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Critical care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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