Background: In-bed cycling is a novel modality for the initiation of early mobilization in the intensive care unit. No study has investigated its use in the critically ill, off-track post cardiac surgery population. Before conducting an effectiveness trial, feasibility data are needed. The aim of this study was to determine the feasibility of in-bed cycling in a population of off-track cardiac surgery patients.
Methods: We conducted a prospective feasibility study in a 16-bed adult cardiac surgery intensive care unit in Ontario, Canada. Previously ambulatory adults (≥ 18 years) who were mechanically ventilated for ≥ 72 h were enrolled within 3 to 7 days post cardiac surgery. Twenty minutes of in-bed cycling was delivered by ICU physiotherapists 5 days/week. The primary outcome, feasibility, was the percent of patient-cycling sessions that occurred when cycling was appropriate. The secondary outcome was cycling safety, measured as cycling discontinuation due to predetermined adverse events.
Results: We screened 2074 patients, 29 met eligibility criteria, and 23 (92%) consented. Patients were male (78.26%) with a median [IQR] age of 76  years, underwent isolated coronary bypass (39.1%), and had a median EuroScore II of 5.4 [7.8]. The mean (SD) time post-surgery to start of cycling was 5.9 (1.4) days. Patients were cycled on 80.5% (136/169) of eligible days, with limited physiotherapy staffing accounting for 48.5% of the missed patient-cycling sessions. During 136 sessions of cycling, 3 adverse events occurred in 3 individual patients. The incidence of an adverse event was 2.2 per 100 patient-cycling sessions (95% CI 0.50, 6.4).
Conclusions: In-bed cycling with critically ill cardiac surgery patients is feasible with adequate physiotherapy staffing and appears to be safe. Future studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of this intervention in a larger sample.
Trial registration: This trial was registered with Clinicaltrials.gov ( NCT02976415 ). Registered November 29, 2016.
Keywords: Cardiac surgery; Critical care; Intensive care unit; Physiotherapy; Rehabilitation.