The sit-to-stand test as a patient-centered functional outcome for critical care research: a pooled analysis of five international rehabilitation studies

Crit Care. 2022 Jun 13;26(1):175. doi: 10.1186/s13054-022-04048-3.


Background: With ICU mortality rates decreasing, it is increasingly important to identify interventions to minimize functional impairments and improve outcomes for survivors. Simultaneously, we must identify robust patient-centered functional outcomes for our trials. Our objective was to investigate the clinimetric properties of a progression of three outcome measures, from strength to function.

Methods: Adults (≥ 18 years) enrolled in five international ICU rehabilitation studies. Participants required ICU admission were mechanically ventilated and previously independent. Outcomes included two components of the Physical Function in ICU Test-scored (PFIT-s): knee extensor strength and assistance required to move from sit to stand (STS); the 30-s STS (30 s STS) test was the third outcome. We analyzed survivors at ICU and hospital discharge. We report participant demographics, baseline characteristics, and outcome data using descriptive statistics. Floor effects represented ≥ 15% of participants with minimum score and ceiling effects ≥ 15% with maximum score. We calculated the overall group difference score (hospital discharge score minus ICU discharge) for participants with paired assessments.

Results: Of 451 participants, most were male (n = 278, 61.6%) with a median age between 60 and 66 years, a mean APACHE II score between 19 and 24, a median duration of mechanical ventilation between 4 and 8 days, ICU length of stay (LOS) between 7 and 11 days, and hospital LOS between 22 and 31 days. For knee extension, we observed a ceiling effect in 48.5% (160/330) of participants at ICU discharge and in 74.7% (115/154) at hospital discharge; the median [1st, 3rd quartile] PFIT-s difference score (n = 139) was 0 [0,1] (p < 0.05). For STS assistance, we observed a ceiling effect in 45.9% (150/327) at ICU discharge and in 77.5% (79/102) at hospital discharge; the median PFIT-s difference score (n = 87) was 1 [0, 2] (p < 0.05). For 30 s STS, we observed a floor effect in 15.0% (12/80) at ICU discharge but did not observe a floor or ceiling effect at hospital discharge. The median 30 s STS difference score (n = 54) was 3 [1, 6] (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Among three progressive outcome measures evaluated in this study, the 30 s STS test appears to have the most favorable clinimetric properties to assess function at ICU and hospital discharge in moderate to severely ill participants.

Keywords: Critical illness; Exercise test; Intensive care units; Outcome assessment; Physical outcome measures; Rehabilitation; Sit-to-stand test.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Critical Care*
  • Critical Illness / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Respiration, Artificial