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Diagnosis, assessment, and management of ICU-acquired weakness 

Diagnosis, assessment, and management of ICU-acquired weakness
Diagnosis, assessment, and management of ICU-acquired weakness

Nicholas Hart

and Tarek Sharshar

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date: 06 July 2022

Intensive care unit-acquired weakness (ICU-AW) is the term applied to generalized skeletal muscle weakness developed as a result of critical illness. This condition adversely affects up to three-quarters of patients admitted to the intensive care unit and it is associated with risk factors such as illness severity and duration of mechanical ventilation. Using detailed electrophysiological tests and histological muscle sampling, ICU-AW can be classified as a neuropathy, myopathy, or a neuromyopathy. However, this detailed approach is generally only required when there is diagnostic uncertainty and a simple test to diagnose ICU-AW utilizing manual muscle testing and the Medical Research Council (MRC) sumscore are more commonly employed. Nonetheless, short- and long-term outcomes associated with developing ICU-AW using MRC sumscore, have been reported. Intervention exercise therapy and rehabilitation strategies are required to minimize the effects of developing of skeletal muscle wasting.

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