The Prevalence and Outcome of Intensive Care Unit Acquired Weakness (ICUAW)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Chronic Respiratory Disease Research Center, National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (NRITLD), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Lung Transplantation Research Center, NRITLD, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Background: Intensive care unit acquired weakness (ICUAW) is a known complication in ICU patients, especially in those with severe underlying diseases. The cause and pathogenesis of ICUAW are still unknown. This study examined the incidence rate of ICUAW in intensive care units (ICUs) of the Masih-Daneshvari Hospital.
Materials and Methods: This descriptive-comparative study was conducted on 160 patients admitted in the ICUs, including an acute respiratory infectious ICU (TB-ICU) and medical ICU. The total number of patients was 80 in each of the ICUs.  Demographic information was obtained from the patients after the initial examination and Medical Research Council (MRC) score was done on daily basis. EMG was performed on the 2nd and 8th days of the admission. ICUAW diagnosis was used in cases with MRC scores under 48.
Results: Among the patients, 68.6% were male and the mean age was 59.13±18. 68 years. The final outcomes were 48.4% mortality and 51.6% discharge, which were 41% and 59% in the TB-ICU and 56.7% and 43.3% in the medical ICU, respectively. By defining electromyography as the gold standard, the sensitivity and specificity of ICUAW diagnosis based on the MRC score definition were about 70% and 83%, respectively. The comparison ICUAW patients in the two ICUs in terms of mortality showed no significant difference between them.
Conclusion: It is concluded that nearly half of ICU-admitted patients develop ICUAW that causes a higher mortality rate. Therefore, new plans should be developed to reduce the rate of ICUAW and subsequent death, as well as other possible morbidities.