Chronic Critical Illness: The Limbo Between Life and Death

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3 Scopus citations


The entity of chronic critical illness (CCI) has shown a rise in the past decades for popularity and prevalence. CCI is loosely defined as the group of patients who require the intensive care setting for weeks to months; its hallmark is prolonged mechanical ventilation. The outcomes of chronically critically ill patients have been dismal and have not improved over time; 1-year survival hovers at approximately 50%. Given the high mortality, prognostic variables are important when making medical decisions. CCI encompasses a syndrome that includes altered pathophysiology across a variety of organ systems. Another crucial element of CCI is the symptom burden that patients experience which include feelings of dyspnea, difficulty communicating and pain. This patient population necessitates the combined efforts of multiple care teams and the early integration of palliative and critical care. Future directions need to include improving the symptom management and communication for patients with CCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-292
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • Chronic critical illness
  • Liberation from mechanical ventilation
  • Palliative care
  • Prolonged mechanical ventilation
  • Ventilator weaning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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