Feasibility and safety of in-bed cycling for physical rehabilitation in the intensive care unit☆,☆☆

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose was to evaluate the feasibility and safety of in-bed cycle ergometry as part of routine intensive care unit (ICU) physical therapist (PT) practice.

Materials and methods

Between July 1, 2010, and December 31, 2011, we prospectively identified all patients admitted to a 16-bed medical ICU receiving cycling by a PT, prospectively collected data on 12 different potential safety events, and retrospectively conducted a chart review to obtain specific details of each cycling session.

Results

Six hundred eighty-eight patients received PT interventions, and 181 (26%) received a total of 541 cycling sessions (median [interquartile range {IQR}] cycling sessions per patient, 2 [1-4]). Patients’ mean (SD) age was 57 (17) years, and 103 (57%) were male. The median (IQR) time from medical ICU admission to first PT intervention and first cycling session was 2 (1-4) and 4 (2-6) days, respectively, with a median (IQR) cycling session duration of 25 (18-30) minutes. On cycling days, the proportion of patients receiving mechanical ventilation, vasopressor infusions, and continuous renal replacement therapy was 80%, 8%, and 7%, respectively. A single safety event occurred, yielding a 0.2% event rate (95% upper confidence limit, 1.0%).

Conclusions

Use of in-bed cycling as part of routine PT interventions in ICU patients is feasible and appears safe. Further study of the potential benefits of early in-bed cycling is needed.

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