Critical Care Neuropathy


I need to develop a plan of care for a patient, and one of their diagnoses is Critical Care Neuropathy. I know what sensory, diabetic, and autonomic neuropathy are, but not this kind. Are they similar? There is no information in my books on this disorder, and I couldn't find anything online.

Can someone please help me out and let me know where I can find more detailed information on this disorder?

Thank you!

Altra, BSN, RN

6,255 Posts

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

I'm in my critical care rotation now - I haven't heard this term. I'm wondering if it's r/t what has also been called "ICU psychosis" - alterations in mental/neuro status from the continual stimulation and lack of normal light/dark sleep/wake cycles in the ICU environment?


48 Posts

Just in case you were curious...

Critical care neuropathy develops as part of a syndrome consisting of sepsis and respiratory failure. This syndrome occurs in 70% of septic patients in a CCU, but more than half are not significantly symptomatic. It appears to be cause by a combo of sepsis and sedation, although no one really knows the patho behind it.

It manifests with vent weaning difficulty, motor neuropathy (and some sensory), and distal muscle weakness. About 50% of affected patiens will recover completely, while most will recover a significant amount of nerve function.

Thanks to responses to my post in the neuro critical care discussion, I now understand my patient much better than before!

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