Is Physical Therapy Helpful For ICU Patients?
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“ICU-related muscle weakness is the number one factor in prolonging a patient's recovery and delaying their return to a normal life, including work and recreational activities"

- Critical care specialist Dale Needham, M.D., Ph.D., the senior researcher for the journal (Critical Care Medicine online)

ICU patients specifically those referred for mechanical ventilation, usually develop chronic loss in muscular strength leading to readmission in ICUs, reduced mobility etc. Rigidity, the stirring reaction that follows acute illness, dietary status and neuro blockages develop into nerve and muscle feebleness.

Critical care patients are usually recommended for prolonged bed rest. As a result of which, idleness and immovability have key physiologic impacts that include bedsores and decubitus ulcers, enhanced chances of infection in your respiratory system.

Inactiveness causes a per day strength loss of 1.3% to 3%. It may increase to 10% if the person is subjected to take complete bed rest for a week. The restricted mobility indeed makes elderly patients more prone to acute ailments such as - cardiovascular blockages and lung diseases. Furthermore to the evil impacts of inactiveness, critical care patients are subjected to nerve-muscle complaints. These complaints slowly and steadily influence physical mobility and everyday life after discharge from intensive care units. It poses challenge in climbing staircases, walk or bend.

Here are some of the PT Techniques that assist in the quick recovery of ICU Patients.

Pulmonary Expansion Therapy (PET)

Breathing exercises or therapy, medically known as sustained maximal inspiration (SMI) or spirometry and deep-respiratory sessions are recommended for patients who can co-operate even in ICU for expanding lung volumes. The core objective of pulmonary expansion therapy is to boost the lung volume by enhancing the trans-pulmonary pressure grade. The process lowers down pleural pressure or raises intra-alveolar pressure during inspiration and expiration. Hence, patients who are on spontaneous ventilation (SV) can make out the most from this therapy.

The pressure surrounding the lungs is scaled down by the contraction of inspiratory muscles. Greater muscular contractions mark better trans-pulmonary pressures and resultantly generate large pulmonary volumes.

Deep-breathing exercises and spirometry process are identified as effective treatment for pulmonary disorder in recovering ICU patients.

Functional Positioning Technique

It should be the first hand approach before initiating any treatment process. Functional positioning technique ensures proper mobility of musculoskeletal system, encourages physical power for automatic control, cushions Vestibular activation and improvises posture response in patients with mobility issues. It is a preventive technique that takes care of muscular contraction and lipo edema or lymphatic obstruction and to lower down the challenges posed by extended limitation to bed.

Electric Neuromuscular Stimulation (ENMS)

This involves physical therapists to cure those patients who cannot contract muscles on their own. It boosts functionality of muscles by extending low-voltage stimulation to the peripheral motor nerves.

ENMS had been really helpful in curing ICU patients specially those who have survived congestive cardiovascular arrests, acute respiratory congestions and COPD.

The technological and scientific development together has made the survival of ICU patients easier. Physical Therapy has proved to be a miraculous treatment for patients who suffer from movement issues, respiratory challenges etc.

Author Bio:

Pieter Reynolds is familiar with well-known physical therapy professionals. He himself has been benefited by this therapeutic technique to improve his health condition. In this article, he has shared information about “Is Physical Therapy Helpful for ICU Patients?” after collecting information from various sources and from qualified physical therapists in Anaheim.


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