Mild Exercise Ok for Critical Ill
A new study out today shows that critically ill patients in the intensive care unit may reduce their use of sedatives and speed their recovery by engaging in mild exercise.
In order for patients to be able to exercise, the amount of prescription sedatives had to be cut in half. This action reduces weakness caused by spending long periods of time in bed, and shortened ICU recovery times by as much as two to three days, according to the research.
Reduced use of sedatives in patients who exercised also led to fewer bouts of hallucination and delirium, according to the report published online April 9 in the journal Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
The study included 57 patients in the medical intensive care unit (MICU) at Johns Hopkins. The 30 to 45 minute exercise sessions were guided by trained physical and occupational therapists and included any combination of either leg or arm movements while lying flat in bed, sitting up or standing or walking slowly in the ICU corridors.
Some of the patients who did the exercises were attached to life support equipment, such as mechanical ventilators, the study authors noted.
"Our work challenges physicians to rethink how they treat critically ill patients and shows the downstream benefits of early mobilization exercises," project leader and critical care specialist Dr. Dale Needham said in a Hopkins news release.