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Pics and PSS

   Post-intensive care syndrome, or PICS, affects many people who have been cared for in an intensive care unit (ICU), particularly if they were on a ventilator – a machine that helped them breathe.    Patients who are cared for in an ICU are very ill. They need constant observation and many need treatments that can only be done in such a specialized place.


     Signs of PICS usually start while patients are still in the ICU. Some patients may become delirious and confused, and staff may call this,   ICU delirium or ICU psychosis.   The symptoms continue after patients are moved to a regular unit and can continue after they have gone home or to a rehabilitation facility.   The symptoms can be both physical and/or psychological and in some cases, may last for up to a year after discharge from the ICU.

   PICS includes:

  ICU-acquired weakness (muscle weakness),      cognitive dysfunction (mental status is confused, anxiety and nightmares amoung other things.


Post-sepsis syndrome, or PSS, occurs to many people – up to 50% - who have had sepsis or septic shock. People with PSS may have one or some of these symptoms including:

  difficulty sleeping,  chronic pain in the muscles and joints, chronic fatigue, difficulty concentration, inability to do mental tasks that they were able to do before becoming ill.

 Patients also might show symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

    Although anyone can develop problems such as PTSD, research published in 2013 found that people who had a history of depression were at higher risk of developing PTSD after an ICU stay than those who did not have depression.

    The problem with PSS is that it is not yet easily recognized by many healthcare professionals. It isn’t unusual for medical staff to feel that people who have survived sepsis and been cured of their infection can go on to resume their lives as they were before. Unfortunately, while some survivors are able to go return to their previous state, others cannot. They may not be able to go back to work, their relationships with family and friends may suffer, or they may not be able to return to their home if they need specialized care.

Surviving sepsis does not mean you are well!

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