Manual Muscle Testing: A Method of Measuring Extremity Muscle Strength Applied to Critically Ill Patients
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Survivors of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and other causes of critical illness often have generalized weakness, reduced exercise tolerance, and persistent nerve and muscle impairments after hospital discharge. Using an explicit protocol with a structured approach to training and quality assurance of research staff, manual muscle testing (MMT) is a highly reliable method for assessing strength, using a standardized clinical examination, for patients following ARDS, and can be completed with mechanically ventilated patients who can tolerate sitting upright in bed and are able to follow two-step commands. (7, 8) This video demonstrates a protocol for MMT, which has been taught to ≥ 43 research staff who have performed >800 assessments on >280 ARDS survivors. Modifications for the bedridden patient are included. Each muscle is tested with specific techniques for positioning, stabilization, resistance, and palpation for each score of the 6-point ordinal Medical Research Council scale. Three upper and three lower extremity muscles are graded in this protocol: shoulder abduction, elbow flexion, wrist extension, hip flexion, knee extension, and ankle dorsiflexion. These muscles were chosen based on the standard approach for evaluating patients for ICU-acquired weakness used in prior publications. (1,2).
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