Neuromuscular dysfunction acquired in critical illness: A systematic review

Robert D. Stevens, David W. Dowdy, Robert K. Michaels, Pedro A. Mendez-Tellez, Peter J. Pronovost, Dale M. Needham

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: To determine the prevalence, risk factors, and outcomes of critical illness neuromuscular abnormalities (CINMA). Design: Systematic review. Data sources and study selection: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library were searched for reports on adult ICU patients who were evaluated for CINMA clinically and electrophysiologically. Studies were included if they contained sufficient data to quantify the association between CINMA and relevant exposures and/or outcome variables. Measurements and results: CINMA was diagnosed in 655 of 1421 [46% (95% confidence interval 43-49%)] adult ICU patients enrolled in 24 studies, all with inclusion criteria of sepsis, multi-organ failure, or prolonged mechanical ventilation. Diagnostic criteria for CINMA were not uniform, and few reports unequivocally differentiated between polyneuropathy, myopathy, and mixed types of CINMA. The risk of CINMA was associated with hyperglycemia (and inversely associated with tight glycemic control), the systemic inflammatory response syndrome, sepsis, multiple organ dysfunction, renal replacement therapy, and catecholamine administration. Across studies, there was no consistent relationship between CINMA and patient age, gender, severity of illness, or use of glucocorticoids, neuromuscular blockers, aminoglycosides, or midazolam. Unadjusted mortality was not increased in the majority of patients with CINMA, but mechanical ventilation and ICU and hospital stay were prolonged. Conclusions: The risk of CINMA is nearly 50% in ICU patients with sepsis, multi-organ failure, or protracted mechanical ventilation. The association of CINMA with frequently cited CINMA risk factors (glucocorticoids, neuromuscular blockers) and with short-term survival is uncertain. Available data indicate glycemic control as a potential strategy to decrease CINMA risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1876-1891
Number of pages16
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Neuromuscular dysfunction acquired in critical illness: A systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this