Thursday, May 21, 2009

ICU Patients Benefit From Early Exercise

According to a study conducted by Dr. John Kress of the University of Chicago and his research team, waking critically ill patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) for short periods of physical therapy may help them in the future. In their study, Kress and his colleagues included 104 patients who were on mechanical ventilators for 72 hours. These patients were expected to require the ventilators for another 24 hours. Before their final 24 hours of ventilation, 49 of the patients had their sedation interrupted and received early exercise and mobilization, while the other 55 received standard care and treatment. Kress and his team followed each patient’s “independent functional status” after discharge, which included their ability to walk without assistance and to carry out six everyday tasks. The researchers found that of the group that received early exercise, 59 percent were able to complete those goals within their four week follow-up. Of the group that received standard care, only about 35 percent were able to walk unaided and execute the six tasks in the four week period. In addition, researchers found that this early exercise shortened the length of time patients required a ventilator and reduced the rate of delirium episodes by 50 percent.

The study, which was published in the online edition of The Lancet, suggests that brief physical therapy for critically ill patients provided early on in ICU may lead to better outcomes for those patients. The immobilization associated with long-term sedation, which is common in ICU, can often cause complications such as weakness and neuropsychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia and depression. Interrupting this sedation and mobilizing the patient in the earliest days of their illness can improve their capabilities during recovery and their overall quality of life later on. Critically ill patients require the constant care of doctors and other health care professionals. If you or a loved one was injured by hospital medical malpractice in the New York area, call or e-mail our malpractice attorneys today for a free consultation with an experienced attorney. We serve clients with Bronx hospital malpractice, Brooklyn hospital malpractice, Queens hospital malpractice, Nassau hospital malpractice and Suffolk hospital malpractice cases.

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