Patients with respiratory failure increase ambulation after transfer to an intensive care unit where early activity is a priority.

Thomsen G.E, Snow G.L, Rodriguez L., Hopkins R.O.

This study included 104 respiratory failure patients who required mechanical ventilation for >4 days. Patients were assessed to be fit for activity if they could: 1) follow commands and cooperate; 2) were on a FiO2 of ?0.6 and positive end-expiratory pressure of ?10; were not receiving any catecholamine drips and had no symptomatic orthostasis. If a patient was ventilated FiO2 was increased by 0.2 before activity. Oxygen saturation and orthostatic symptoms were monitored. Activities included sit on the edge of the bed, sit in a chair after transfer from bed and ambulate using a walker.

The results show that 28% of patients were able to ambulate 24 hours after transfer to RICU (respiratory intensive care unit) and this increased to 41% of patients within 48hrs. Of the patients who ambulated in the 24 – 48 hours after transfer to RICU 60-62% of patients had endotracheal tubes, 7-33% had a tracheostomy and 31 – 8% were not mechanically ventilated patients who ambulated.

Critical Care Medicine 2008; 36: 1119-1124

Link to abstract