Electrical muscle stimulation in the intensive care unit: An integrative review

Judith Edwards, D. McWilliams, Matthew Thomas, Sanjoy Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Following a period of critical illness, physical function and health-related quality of life are slow to recover, both in the short and long term. Muscle wasting and weakness during the intensive care unit (ICU) admission is a recognised contributory factor. Enhanced rehabilitation programmes are advocated to improve outcomes, and electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) has been recommended during the early critical illness trajectory. This technique is fairly new to the ICU, and limited efficacy data exists for its use in this setting. This integrative review will examine published and on-going ICU studies with the purpose of reporting on the characteristics of EMS study participants; content of EMS treatment protocols; safety of EMS in the ICU setting; effects on EMS on muscle wasting; effects of EMS on muscle strength; and future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-149
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Intensive Care Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • electrical stimulation therapy
  • muscle weakness
  • critical illness
  • muscular atrophy
  • rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Electrical muscle stimulation in the intensive care unit: An integrative review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this