Report on Post-intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) for general practitioners

intensive care illustration

The post-intensive care syndrome (PICS) is not specific to COVID-19. In the months after discharge, it can occur in more than half of the patients that have stayed in intensive care for a serious pathology. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is very likely that its incidence will increase in the coming months. 

PICS can cause three types of symptoms: physical (extreme muscle weakness), psychological (anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder), and cognitive (memory loss, loss of verbal fluency, attention and executive functioning disorders). Psychological symptoms can also be observed in the relatives of the patients (PICS-F for ‘Family’).

Since PICS is not well known outside the limited circle of intensivists, KCE conducted a rapid review of the literature for primary caretakers to identify the main risk factors and the evidence for possible interventions. We have also identified a series of 6 practical tools. They will enable general practitioners to detect this syndrome, which they will no doubt soon observe, in a quick and reliable way. 

Gudrun BRIAT (NL)
Communication Manager for the KCE
+32 (0)2 287 33 48
+32 (0)475 769 766
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