Neuromuscular complications in the intensive care unit: critical illness polyneuromyopathy

AACN Adv Crit Care. 2007 Apr-Jun;18(2):167-80; quiz 181-2. doi: 10.1097/01.AACN.0000269260.99169.70.


Critical illness polyneuromyopathy, a complication of critical illness, is a primary axonal degeneration of motor and sensory fibers that leads to skeletal muscle weakness. It significantly contributes to the unexplained difficulty in weaning from mechanical ventilation and to their prolonged rehabilitation and poor quality of life after discharge. This article will discuss the diagnosis of critical illness polyneuromyopathy, identify risk factors, review several pathomechanisms that have been proposed, and discuss the implications for practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Critical Illness*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Early Ambulation
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Electrodiagnosis
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Medical History Taking
  • Neuromuscular Agents / administration & dosage
  • Neuromuscular Agents / adverse effects
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Physical Examination
  • Polyneuropathies / diagnosis
  • Polyneuropathies / epidemiology
  • Polyneuropathies / etiology
  • Polyneuropathies / prevention & control*
  • Primary Prevention / methods*
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Ventilator Weaning


  • Neuromuscular Agents