Acceptability, safety, and feasibility of in-bed cycling with critically ill patients

Aust Crit Care. 2020 May;33(3):236-243. doi: 10.1016/j.aucc.2020.02.007. Epub 2020 Apr 18.


Background: In-bed cycling is a promising intervention that may assist critically ill patients to maintain muscle mass and improve their trajectory of recovery. The acceptability of in-bed cycling from the different perspectives of patients, clinicians, and families are unknown. In addition, the safety and feasibility of in-bed cycling in an Australian tertiary intensive care unit (ICU) is relatively unknown.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine the acceptability, safety, and feasibility of in-bed cycling in an Australian tertiary, adult, mixed medical, surgical, trauma ICU.

Methods: An observational process evaluation was embedded in one arm of a two-arm parallel phase II randomised controlled trial that was conducted in an Australian tertiary ICU. The process evaluation was of the acceptability, safety, and feasibility of passive and active in-bed cycling for participants allocated to the trial intervention group. In-bed cycling acceptability questionnaires were designed through a three-step Delphi process. Questionnaire responses from patients, family members, and clinicians who participated in or observed the intervention during the Critical Care Cycling Study (CYCLIST) were evaluated to determine the acceptability of in-bed cycling. The congruence of responses between respondents was also compared. Safety and feasibility of the in-bed cycling intervention were assessed against predetermined criteria.

Results: Acceptability questionnaire responses demonstrated that in-bed cycling was an acceptable intervention from the perspectives of patients, family members, and clinicians. Questionnaire responses were congruent across the respondent groups. Safety was demonstrated with two minor transient adverse events occurring during 276 in-bed cycling sessions (adverse event rate: 0.7%). In-bed cycling sessions were feasible with 276 of 304 (90%) planned sessions conducted.

Conclusions: Acceptability questionnaire responses found that in-bed cycling was regarded as an acceptable intervention to patients, family members, and clinicians. The implementation of in-bed cycling was safe and feasible to complete with critically ill patients during the early stages of their critical illness in an Australian tertiary ICU setting.

Keywords: Critical illness; Cycle ergometry; Early ambulation; Exercise; Intensive care units; Patient acceptability of health care; Physical therapy (specialty); Rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Observational Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Critical Illness / rehabilitation*
  • Delphi Technique
  • Ergometry / methods*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Safety*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires