Potential effect of physiotherapeutic treatment on mortality rate in patients with severe sepsis and septic shock: a retrospective cohort analysis

J Crit Care. 2013 Dec;28(6):954-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2013.06.023. Epub 2013 Aug 17.


Purpose: The aim of the study was to examine the onset and frequency of physiotherapeutic interventions (PTI) and their potential effects on the intensive care unit (ICU) mortality rate in patients with severe sepsis or septic shock.

Material and methods: Retrospective data analysis. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportional-hazards regression analyses were performed.

Results: About 6.2% of all patients (n = 999, length of ICU stay 12 days, averaged SOFA score 14) developed sepsis within three years. Of these, 77% received at least once PTI. The relative number of PTI (RNPTI index, individually calculated by the number of PTI/length of stay) in patients with sepsis was 42%. The first physiotherapeutic treatment was five days after ICU admission. Cox regression multivariate analysis adjusted by disease severity scores, sedation state and other clinical variables found RNPTI index as significant risk factor for the ICU mortality rate (hazard ratio, 0.982; 95% confidence interval, 0.974-0.990; P < .001).

Conclusions: Physiotherapists routinely assess and treat patients with sepsis. The frequency of PTI was associated with an improved outcome. Prospective studies are necessary to confirm the potential favorable impact.

Keywords: Critically ill; Mortality; Outcome; Physical therapy; Physiotherapy; Sepsis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Critical Care / methods
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Dysfunction Scores
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sepsis / mortality*
  • Sepsis / rehabilitation*
  • Shock, Septic / mortality
  • Shock, Septic / rehabilitation
  • Treatment Outcome