Care of Critically Ill Patients| Volume 47, ISSUE 1, P1-9, January 2018

Influence of muscle strength on early mobility in critically ill adult patients: Systematic literature review


      • Immobility and muscle deconditioning impact early mobilization in the ICU setting.
      • Muscle strength in critically ill patients can be measured as a clinical assessment.
      • Integrating muscle strength tests, interprofessional engagement and patient assessment optimizes patient outcomes.
      • Research is required on the influence of muscle strength on early mobility.



      Muscle strength may be one indicator of readiness to mobilize that can be used to guide decisions regarding early mobility efforts and to progressively advance mobilization.


      To provide a synthesis of current measures of muscle strength in the assessment of early mobilization in critically ill adult patients who are receiving MV therapy.


      Research studies conducted between 2000-2015 were identified using PubMed, CINHAL, MEDLINE, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews databases using the search terms “muscle strength”, “intensive care”, “mechanical ventilation” and “muscle weakness”.


      Nine articles used manual muscle testing, the Medical Research Council scale and/or hand-held dynamometer to provide objective measures for assessing muscle strength in the critically ill adult patient population.


      Further research is needed to examine the application of standardized measures of muscle strength for guiding decisions regarding early and progressive advancement of mobility goals in adult ICU patients on MV.


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