Home > Issue 2 (Volume 12) > Prolonged muscle inactivity and evaluation of peripheral neuromuscular features in patients hospitalized in Intensive Care Units


Introduction: Polyneuromyopathy constitutes a common complication in critically ill patients of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and in the last few years it appears to be identified as a syndrome detectable in the limbs and respiratory muscles. It is associated with the difficulties during weaning from mechanical ventilation.

Aim: The present study investigates the reflective reaction of the soleus muscle following an electrical stimulation of the tibial nerve in intubated critically ill patients hospitalized in ICU with no medical history prior to their admission.

Methods: Thirteen (13) patients who had been hospitalized for more than five (5) days and had a high APACHE II score (>15) and 13 age-matched control subjects were asked to participate in the present study on a volunteer basis. During the study, as reflective response parameters the range of the H-reflex and M-wave of the soleus muscle, as well as the conduction velocity of the tibial nerve, after electro-stimulation of the tibial nerve at the popliteal-fossa level, were assessed

Results: Statistical analysis revealed significantly lower values in the ICU patients compared to healthy controls in both H-reflex range (p<0,049) and the M-wave range (p<0,041), as well as conduction velocity (p<0,001) of the tibial nerve.
Conclusions: It is concluded that the reflective response of the soleus muscle as well as the tibial nerve’s conduction velocity are affected in critically ill patients hospitalized in ICU. The study of the above neurological parameters can provide further insights into the establishment and progress of polyneuromyopathy of critically ill patients in ICUs.

Key-words: Contaction velocity, electromyography, Η-reflex, Intensive Care Unit, Μ-wave, mechanical ventilation, polyneuromyopathy

About the Author