It is commonly accepted that the phrase "Post Intensive Care Syndrome" and the acronym PICS came into use by critical care medical providers sometime in 2010.  The term PICS soon became universally accepted as the moniker to best describe a disorder that had up until that time remained unnamed.

PICS is best defined as a collection of health disorders that are common among the tens of millions of American patients and millions more worldwide, who have survived critical illness and the intensive care unit.  PICS symptoms are considered distinct from the impairments experienced by those who survive critical illness and intensive care.  The range of symptoms that PICS describes falls under three broad categories:

  1. physical impairment, 

  2. cognitive impairment, and; 

  3. psychiatric impairment. 

Awareness of these long-term functional disabilities continues to grow as a result of a considerable amount of ongoing research designed to further clarify the spectrum of disabilities caused by PICS.  Critical Care Clinicians hope to find more effective ways to prevent the long-term complications associated with PICS and to find a more effective means by which to provide PICS sufferers with functional recovery.

Increased awareness of PICS in the medical community has also highlighted the need for more hospital and community-based resources to more effectively identify and treat patients suffering from PICS after surviving a critical illness.

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