BALTIMORE, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A U.S. doctor says the whole idea of bed rest as something beneficial to recuperation is being turned on its head.
Dr. Robert Stevens of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore says it is now recognized that being immobilized in the intensive care unit significantly worsens muscle weakness.
"Patients who develop muscle weakness while they're critically ill do much worse," Stevens says in a statement. "They have higher mortality, their stay in the ICU is prolonged. They incur serious costs. Some of these patients in the long run remain weak and are unable to resume physical activities as before."
Critical care units, Stevens says, are slowly moving in the direction of getting patients moving as soon as possible -- including cycling in bed, standing, sitting in chairs and even walking while still on respirators.
Stevens is part of an international interdisciplinary research group that met in Brussels in March to develop a framework for uniformly classifying ICU-acquired muscle-wasting disorders -- including intensive care unit-acquired weakness, critical illness polyneuropathy, critical illness neuromyopathy and critical illness myopathy.
The classification scheme has been proposed in Critical Care Medicine.