Intensive care unit patients face many hurdles. Not only do they have to survive their initial injuries or illnesses, they must overcome surgeries, drug therapies and the risk of infection.
During this time, they’re also in bed for prolonged periods. Many are attached to mechanical ventilators that assist with breathing. Immobilization might last for weeks.
And that can create a cascade of consequences — including muscle atrophy, neuropathy, and worsening circulation and blood flow. This is part of what is known as post-intensive care syndrome and can result in the need for patients to undergo months of physical therapy and learning how to regain function.
To help keep immobile bodies moving, Kevin Ward, MD, partnered with Bogdan Epurenau, PhD, to develop a targeted system that would apply vibration to muscle tissue in order to spontaneously activate the muscle.
The device has four entry points, two at the shoulders and two at the feet. Not only does the system apply vibrations at both ends of the skeletal system, it also compresses the body and tightens the joints so the vibrations travel all the way through the body.
Prolonged bed rest and immobilization can lead to a series of complications for patients already struggling to overcome a critical illness or injury. This can include loss of muscle strength, degenerative joint disease, changes to the soft tissue, and more. Not only do these pose a risk to patient's immediate health, but it makes the road to recovery much more difficult.
This mobile and modular product will only require five to ten minutes of treatment once or twice daily to see the desired effects. The effects are equivalent to moderate exercise, and the treatment can be performed even when the patient is totally sedated and unconscious. In addition to improving recovery times for patients, it will also improve their outcome and shorten the average length-of-stay, a cost-saving benefit for hospitals.