Intensive care unit-acquired neuromyopathy and corticosteroids in survivors of persistent ARDS

Intensive Care Med. 2009 Jan;35(1):63-8. doi: 10.1007/s00134-008-1304-4. Epub 2008 Oct 23.


Objectives: To determine the incidence and outcomes of intensive care unit-acquired neuromyopathy and to investigate the role of methylprednisolone in survivors of persistent acute lung injury.

Design: Secondary analysis of completed randomized placebo-controlled trial.

Setting: Twenty-five hospitals in the NHLBI ARDS Network.

Patients and participants: Patients enrolled in the ARDS Network study of methylprednisolone versus placebo for persistent ARDS who survived 60 days or to hospital discharge.

Measurements and results: One hundred and twenty-eight study patients survived 60 days. Forty-three (34%) of these patients had evidence by chart review of ICU-acquired neuromyopathy, which was associated with prolonged mechanical ventilation, return to mechanical ventilation, and delayed return to home after critical illness. Treatment with methylprednisolone was not significantly associated with an increase in risk of neuromyopathy (OR 1.5; 95% CI 0.7-3.2).

Conclusions: ICU-acquired-neuromyopathy is common among survivors of persistent ARDS and is associated with poorer clinical outcomes. We did not find a significant association between methylprednisolone treatment and neuromyopathy. Limitations of this study preclude definitive conclusions about the causal relationship between corticosteroids and ICU-acquired neuromuscular dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute Lung Injury / complications
  • Acute Lung Injury / drug therapy
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Diseases / chemically induced
  • Muscular Diseases / complications
  • Muscular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Polyneuropathies / chemically induced*
  • Polyneuropathies / complications
  • Polyneuropathies / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / complications
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survivors
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Methylprednisolone