Background: To estimate the incidence and onset of critical illness polyneuropathy (CIP) in patients in septic shock.
Methods: Prospective, observational study, no interventions, in a general 9-bed ICU of a large teaching hospital. Twenty-five patients consecutively admitted to the ICU for treatment of septic shock were studied. Within 72 h of admission to the ICU a complete neurological examination and electromyografic studies were done. Studies were repeated weekly until discharge of ICU or death or CIP confirmed.
Results: Nineteen patients developed CIP (76%), with a majority (80%) within 72 h after onset of septic shock. All twenty-two patients with multi organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) had CIP. The three patients without MODS did not have CIP (P<0.01).
Conclusions: In a group of patients suffering from septic shock the incidence of CIP is high (76%). The onset is early, within 72 h after onset of septic shock. CIP is an early feature of MODS, developing after septic shock.