Adult intensive care patients' perception of endotracheal tube-related discomforts: A prospective evaluation.
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OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to investigate adult patients' perceptions of endotracheal tube (ETT)-related discomfort at 5 days and 2 months after discharge from the intensive care unit (ICU). METHODS: This prospective cohort study in 2 general ICUs included 250 intubated, mechanically ventilated adults admitted for more than 24 hours. Patients were interviewed 5 days and 2 months after discharge from the ICU about their ETT-related discomfort, using a modified Swedish ETT version of the ICU Stressful Experience Questionnaire that comprises 14 items. RESULTS: Of 116 patients describing their ETT experience during their ICU stay, 88% rated their discomfort as moderately to extremely stressful. At 2 months after discharge from the ICU, 23% (51/226) reported bothersome discomfort, vs. 46% (104/226) 5 days after discharge from the ICU, and 10 patients suffered from severe, persistent hoarseness. CONCLUSION: The incidence of bothersome subjective complaints after tracheal intubation in the intensive-care setting is high, and severe ETT-related problems may persist several months after extubation.