Advances in the rehabilitation of intensive care unit acquired weakness: A case report on the promising use of robotics and virtual reality coupled to physiotherapy

Medicine (Baltimore). 2020 Jul 10;99(28):e20939. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000020939.


INTRODUCTION: Traditional physiotherapy is currently the best approach to manage patients with intensive care unit acquired weakness (ICUAW). We report on a patient with ICUAW, who was provided with an intensive, in-patient regimen, that is, conventional plus robot-assisted physiotherapy. Aim of this case study was to assess the efficacy of a combined approach (conventional plus robot-assisted physiotherapy), on muscle strength, overall mobility, and disability burden in a patient with ICUAW in post-ICU intensive rehabilitation setting.

PATIENT CONCERNS: A 56-years-old male who was unable to stand and walk independently after hospitalization in an Intensive Care Unit. He initially was provided with daily sessions of conventional physiotherapy for 2 months, with mild results.

DIAGNOSIS: The patient was affected by ICUAW.

INTERVENTION: Given that the patient showed a relatively limited improvement after conventional physiotherapy, he was provided with daily sessions of robot-aided training for upper and lower limbs and virtual reality-aided rehabilitation for other 4 months, beyond conventional physiotherapy.

OUTCOMES: At the discharge (6 months after the admission), the patient reached the standing station and was able to ambulate with double support.

CONCLUSIONS: Our case suggests that patients with ICUAW should be intensively treated in in-patient regimen with robot-aided physiotherapy. Even though our approach deserves confirmation, the combined rehabilitation strategy may offer some advantage in maximizing functional recovery and containing disability.

PMID:32664093 | PMC:PMC7360286 | DOI:10.1097/MD.0000000000020939

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