, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 849-855

Polyneuropathies in critically ill patients: A prospective evaluation

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Abstract

Objective

To determine the incidence, severity and course of polyneuropathies in patients with sepsis or systemic inflammatory response syndrome combined with multiple organ failure.

Design

Prospective study.

Setting

Division of Intensive Care Medicine of the Department of Anesthesiology and Intessive Care and Intensive Care Unit of the Department of Neurology, University Hospital Innsbruck, Austria.

Patients

Twenty-two patients between 23 and 77 years old with sepsis or systemic inflammatory response syndrome combined with multiple organ failure fulfilling strict inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Interventions

Clinical neurologic examination and electromyography/nerve conduction velocity measurements during the stay on the Intensive Care Unit and 2–3 months later.

Measurements and results

In 9 of the 22 patients signs of polyneuropathy were found at the initial clinical investigation and in 7 patients at the follow-up investigation. Electrophysiologic investigation revealed signs of polyneuropathy in 18 patients initially and in 11 patients 2–3 months later.

Conclusion

In our patient population the frequency of the development of polyneuropathy was high (81.8%). Electrophysiologic investigation is superior to clinical neurologic examination in the detection of polyneuropathies.