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VOLUME 15 , ISSUE 2 ( April, 2011 ) > List of Articles


Critical illness myopathy and polyneuropathy - A challenge for physiotherapists in the intensive care units

Renu Pattanshetty, Gajanan S. Gaude

Keywords : Critical illness, myopathy, polyneuropathy, exercises, mobilization, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, muscle atrophy, mechanical ventilation, physical therapy

Citation Information : Pattanshetty R, Gaude GS. Critical illness myopathy and polyneuropathy - A challenge for physiotherapists in the intensive care units. Indian J Crit Care Med 2011; 15 (2):78-81.

DOI: 10.4103/0972-5229.83009

License: CC BY-ND 3.0

Published Online: 01-12-2018

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2011; The Author(s).


The development of critical patient related generalized neuromuscular weakness, referred to as critical illness polyneuropathy (CIP) and critical illness myopathy (CIM), is a major complication in patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU). Both CIP and CIM cause muscle weakness and paresis in critically ill patients during their ICU stay. Early mobilization or kinesiotherapy have shown muscle weakness reversion in critically ill patients providing faster return to function, reducing weaning time, and length of hospitalization. Exercises in the form of passive, active, and resisted forms have proved to improve strength and psychological well being. Clinical trials using neuromuscular electrical stimulation to increase muscle mass, muscle strength and improve blood circulation to the surrounding tissue have proved beneficial. The role of electrical stimulation is unproven as yet. Recent evidence indicates no difference between treated and untreated muscles. Future research is recommended to conduct clinical trials using neuromuscular electrical stimulation, exercises, and early mobilization as a treatment protocol in larger populations of patients in ICU.

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