© 2015 Tridente et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Introduction: Patients admitted to intensive care following surgery for faecal peritonitis present particular challenges in terms of clinical management and risk assessment. Collaborating surgical and intensive care teams need shared perspectives on prognosis. We aimed to determine the relationship between dynamic assessment of trends in selected variables and outcomes. Methods: We analysed trends in physiological and laboratory variables during the first week of intensive care unit (ICU) stay in 977 patients at 102 centres across 16 European countries. The primary outcome was 6-month mortality. Secondary endpoints were ICU, hospital and 28-day mortality. For each trend, Cox proportional hazards (PH) regression analyses, adjusted for age and sex, were performed for each endpoint. Results: Trends over the first 7 days of the ICU stay independently associated with 6-month mortality were worsening thrombocytopaenia (mortality: hazard ratio (HR) = 1.02; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.01 to 1.03; P <0.001) and renal function (total daily urine output: HR =1.02; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.03; P <0.001; Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) renal subscore: HR = 0.87; 95% CI, 0.75 to 0.99; P = 0.047), maximum bilirubin level (HR = 0.99; 95% CI, 0.99 to 0.99; P = 0.02) and Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) SOFA subscore (HR = 0.81; 95% CI, 0.68 to 0.98; P = 0.028). Changes in renal function (total daily urine output and renal component of the SOFA score), GCS component of the SOFA score, total SOFA score and worsening thrombocytopaenia were also independently associated with secondary outcomes (ICU, hospital and 28-day mortality). We detected the same pattern when we analysed trends on days 2, 3 and 5. Dynamic trends in all other measured laboratory and physiological variables, and in radiological findings, changes inrespiratory support, renal replacement therapy and inotrope and/or vasopressor requirements failed to be retained as independently associated with outcome in multivariate analysis. Conclusions: Only deterioration in renal function, thrombocytopaenia and SOFA score over the first 2, 3, 5 and 7 days of the ICU stay were consistently associated with mortality at all endpoints. These findings may help to inform clinical decision making in patients with this common cause of critical illness.