Survey of Physiotherapy Practice in Ontario Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Units Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Purpose: This article describes current physiotherapy practice for critically ill adult patients requiring prolonged stays in critical care (> 3 d) after complicated cardiac surgery in Ontario. Method: We distributed an electronic, self-administered 52-item survey to 35 critical care physiotherapists who treat adult cardiac surgery patients at 11 cardiac surgical sites. Pilot testing and clinical sensibility testing were conducted beforehand. Participants were sent four email reminders. Results: The response rate was 80% (28/35). The median reported number of cardiac surgeries performed per week was 30 (interquartile range [IQR] 10), with a median number of 14.5 (IQR 4) cardiac surgery beds per site. Typical reported caseloads ranged from 6 to 10 patients per day per therapist, and 93% reported that they had initiated physiotherapy with patients once they were clinically stable in the intensive care unit. Of 28 treatments, range of motion exercises (27; 96.4%), airway clearance techniques (26; 92.9%), and sitting at the edge of the bed (25; 89.3%) were the most common. Intra-aortic balloon pump and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation appeared to limit physiotherapy practice. Use of outcome measures was limited. Conclusions: Physiotherapists provide a variety of interventions to critically ill cardiac surgery patients. Further evaluation of the limited use of outcome measures in the cardiac surgical intensive care unit is warranted.

publication date

  • January 1, 2022