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Chronic Post-ICU Pain and Post–Intensive Care Syndrome

Jessica L. Johnson, PharmD, BCPS; Sara A. Al-Dahir, PharmD, BCPS AQ-ID

U.S.Pharmacist

Magazine Article

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General Public, General Medical Professionals

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Post–intensive care syndrome (PICS) is a myriad of chronically debilitating symptoms, often including chronic pain, associated with prolonged ICU care. Though the exact mechanism of chronic post-ICU pain is unknown, it is postulated that the severity of inflammation associated with many forms of critical illness leads to chronic pain in patients long after resolution of their acute critical illness. Increasing emphasis on long-term outcomes of ICU survivors makes prevention of chronic pain and PICS a priority for multidisciplinary ICU teams. This article discusses the prevalence and mechanisms of chronic post-ICU pain and suggests strategies to reduce the impact of chronic pain on quality of life in ICU survivors.

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