The Clinical Spectrum of Critical Illness Polyneuropathy

EELCO F.M. WIJDICKS, WILLIAM J. LITCHY, BARRY A. HARRISON, DOUGLAS R. GRACEY

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations

Abstract

To describe the entity of critical illness polyneuropathy and review our experience with six cases. We present case reports of six patients with polyneuropathy associated with critical illness, who received medical care at the Mayo Clinic between 1992 and 1994, and discuss similar cases from the literature. Critical illness may damage peripheral nerves. In previous studies, sepsis and multiorgan failure have been found to trigger a peripheral neuropathy. Of our six patients with critical illness polyneuropathy, all had a preceding severe bacterial infection or septic shock. In one patient who had long-term administration of vecuronium bromide and had received massive intravenous doses of corticosteroids, sural nerve and quadriceps muscle biopsy specimens were available; they revealed axonal neuropathy and notable myopathic changes, respectively. The outcome was good in patients who survived the critical illness. Polyneuropathy in critically ill patients may be a cause of severe generalized limb weakness and occurs in the setting of a sepsis syndrome. The long-term outcome is good in patients who recover from the underlying critical illness. Compression neuropathies may be a cause of permanent sequelae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-959
Number of pages5
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Volume69
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

Keywords

  • GBS
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • ICU
  • intensive-care unit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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