Objectives: To assess long term outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) Australians admitted non‐electively to intensive care units (ICUs).
Design: Data linkage cohort study; analysis of ICU patient data (Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Adult Patient Database), prospectively collected during 2007–2016.
Setting: All four university‐affiliated level 3 ICUs in South Australia.
Main outcomes: Mortality (in‐hospital, and 12 months and 8 years after admission to ICU), by Indigenous status.
Results: 2035 of 39 784 non‐elective index ICU admissions were of Indigenous Australians, including 1461 of 37 661 patients with South Australian residential postcodes. The median age of Indigenous patients was lower than for non‐Indigenous ICU patients. For patients with South Australian postcodes, unadjusted mortality at discharge and 12 months and 8 years after admission was lower for Indigenous patients. The number of potential years of life lost was greater for Indigenous patients, but, referenced to respective population life expectancies, relative survival at 8 years was similar.
Conclusions: Adjusted long term mortality and median number of potential life years lost are higher for Indigenous than non‐Indigenous patients after intensive care in hospital. These differences reflect underlying population survival patterns rather than the effects of ICU admission.