Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS)

Muscle weakness, memory problems, depression, insomnia, physical pain, nightmares. These are just a few examples of the problems that patients may experience following critical illness. Symptoms such as these which affect emotional, physical, and cognitive health are now being recognized as Post Intensive Care Syndrome, or PICS. Efforts to educate health care providers, patients, and families about Post Intensive Care Syndrome are underway. Explore our site to learn more about PICS.

Jan 14, 2017

PICS is Personal

By Annie, Mayo ICU Nurse Practitioner, @andreab


It was the end of October, 2014 when my Mom suffered a cardiac arrest from a heart attack. Her medical team expertly performed the necessary interventions to save her from the arrest, open her blocked artery, and ensure that she would have more time here with our family. Her stay in the ICU was less than 48 hours and her time needing mechanical ventilation was just hours. Following her experience my Mom suffered anxiety, nightmares, sleeplessness, and flashbacks. And my sister began suffering from panic attacks – something she had never experienced before.

I first started learning about Post Intensive Care Syndrome, or PICS, about 4 months following my Mom’s cardiac arrest. I quickly realized that she was most certainly experiencing signs and symptoms of PICS. And the panic attacks my sister was enduring could be a sign of Post Intensive Care Syndrome – Family, or PICS-F. It struck me that if my own mother was experiencing these signs and symptoms following her short and uncomplicated ICU stay, what was happening to the hundreds of previously critically ill patients I have cared for over the years as critical care nurse?

PICS is a personal journey. For more information on signs and symptoms of PICS and what is being done to address this syndrome, please view the video below.


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