May 22, 2014 – After the ICU

May 22, 2014

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ANCHOR LEAD:  MUSCLE WEAKNESS MAY BE A CONSEQUENCE OF A STAY IN THE ICU, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

The intensive care unit, or ICU, is a medical miracle, saving the lives of many each year.  Yet those who’ve experienced a stay in the ICU may emerge with troubling and often, long-term consequences.  Dale Needham, a critical care medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, have found that one of those consequences may be muscle weakness.

NEEDHAM: In our recent paper we looked at the physical complications in survivors of acute respiratory distress syndrome that we followed over a two year period. We evaluated 222 patients, and importantly, in terms of physical outcomes, we saw that more than one-third of survivors had important muscle weakness at hospital discharge and that weakness was associated with substantial impairments in their physical functioning and their quality of life at subsequent follow-up visits.  :29

Needham says early exercise, even while ventilators and other medical paraphernalia is still in use, can help.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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