Functional outcome of critical illness polyneuropathy in patients affected by severe brain injury

Domenico Intiso, Filomena DI Rienzo, Andrea Fontana, Maurizio Tolfa, Michelangelo Bartolo, Massimiliano Copetti

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BACKGROUND: Critical illness polyneuropathy and myopathy (CIPNM) frequently occur in intensive care unit (ICU) critically ill subjects; about 55-70% of subjects achieve full recovery. CIPNM can occur in ICU subjects with severe acquired brain injury (sABI), but no data have been reported regarding their outcome.

AIM: The aim of the present study was to investigate the functional recovery in subjects suffering from both CIPNM and sABI and whether they had poorer outcome than those with sABI only.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

SETTING: Dedicated rehabilitation setting.

POPULATION: Adult ICU subjects with sABI causing a disorder of consciousness graded 3-8 on the Glasgow Coma Scale admitted to a dedicated rehabilitative setting were enrolled from January 2015 to June 2016.

METHODS: The enrolled sample was divided in two groups: patients with CIPNM and coexistent sABI (CIPNM+sABI) and patients with sABI. Electromyography was performed in all subjects to ascertain CIPNM occurrence, at admission. Functional outcome was investigated using the Rancho Los Amigos Levels of Cognitive Functioning (LCF), Disability Rating Scale (DRS), Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) and modified Rankin Scale (mRS), at admission and discharge. Mortality and length of stay (LOS) were recorded.

RESULTS: One-hundred and thirty-one patients (59 F, 72 M; mean age 54.7±15.8) were admitted to the rehabilitation setting, and 111 (47 F, 64 M; mean age: 53.6±18.4 years) were enrolled. Thirty-six (31.8%) had CIPNM+sABI, and 75 patients had isolated sABI. Significant functional outcomes in all assessment measures were observed after rehabilitation in all samples. The estimated mean scores (95% confidence interval) of LCF, DRS, GOS and mRS from a multivariate model adjusted for age, sex and time of ICU stay were: 2.85 (2.53-3.21) and 5.24 (4.81-5.71), 23.94 (22.37-25.62) and 16.04 (14.77-17.41), 2.86 (2.70-3.04) and 3.46 (3.28-3.65), and 4.91 (4.67-5.17) and 3.79 (3.58-4.02), at admission and at discharge, respectively. Despite functional improvement, CIPNM+sABI patients showed lesser improvement than those with sABI only. Furthermore, patients with both disorders had significantly higher median LOS than sABI subjects: 107 (q1-q3: 65-146), and 65 (q1-q3: 38-105) days (P=5.5x10-83), respectively. No statistically significant difference in mortality rates was found between groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Subjects with CIPNM and coexistent sABI improved after rehabilitation, but had poorer recovery than those with solely sABI requiring a longer LOS.

CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: The rehabilitation process in subjects suffering from CINPM is challenging and no evidence support the use of specific rehabilitative approaches to improve function and activities of daily living.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)910-919
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Journal Article


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