Quality of life following mechanical ventilation in dogs and cats

Donaldson, R E and Barfield, D (2020) Quality of life following mechanical ventilation in dogs and cats. Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. ISSN 1476-4431

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Background Mechanical ventilation is frequently performed in small animal critical care medicine with well‐documented survival data; quality of life in these patients following discharge from hospital is unknown. Key findings Owners of patients surviving to discharge following mechanical ventilation were surveyed with an open ended and ranking score questionnaire. Response rate was 57% (27/47). All respondents rated their pet's quality of life prior to the illness necessitating ventilation as good to excellent (8/10–10/10). Perceived recovery periods ranged from 0 days to 6 months (the most common response being 2–3 weeks). Fourteen owners stated that their pets’ quality of life was as good or better than previously. Patients with persistent quality of life concerns (n = 3) had been ventilated for neurological disease. Four owners reported changed behaviors such as startling easily or being excessively responsive to noise. One cat became deaf and at time of survey had not regained hearing. Commonly reported problems included decreased exercise tolerance (n = 3). All respondents stated that they would ventilate their pet again. Significance Cats and dogs that are mechanically ventilated appear to recover with minimal adverse effect on their quality of life. Patients ventilated for neurological conditions may be more likely to experience quality of life limitations.

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