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BMJ Case Rep. 2010;2010. pii: bcr09.2009.2257. doi: 10.1136/bcr.09.2009.2257. Epub 2010 Mar 30.

Early mobilisation of intensive care unit patient: the challenges of morbid obesity and multiorgan failure.

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Johns Hopkins University, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, 1830 East Monument Street, 5th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


A 44-year-old morbidly obese (body mass index 69 kg/m(2)) woman presented to our medical intensive care unit (ICU) with septic shock and multiorgan failure requiring mechanical ventilation, a vasopressor infusion, and haemodialysis. Before this admission, the patient reported being able to ambulate approximately 3 m with a walker. Intensive physical therapy was started on ICU day 2, and the patient was successfully mobilised throughout her ICU stay despite the extreme challenges posed by her morbid obesity and critical illness. After only a 9 day stay, the patient was discharged directly home from the medical ICU, walking a total distance of 37 m in a single physical therapy session.

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