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Critical Illness Myopathy: Diagnostic Approach and Resulting Therapeutic Implications.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Critical illness myopathy (CIM) is a common neuro-muscular complication of intensive care treatment associated with increased morbidity and mortality. The current guidelines for diagnosis include clinical and electrophysiological criteria as well as a muscle biopsy, and allow diagnosis only at an advanced stage of the disease. To date, there is no treatment for CIM available, apart from symptomatic and rehabilitative interventions. In this review, we discuss different diagnostic approaches and describe new treatment possibilities for CIM.

RECENT FINDINGS: Of the diagnostic approaches evaluated, a new electrophysiological technique for measuring muscle excitability has the greatest potential to allow earlier diagnosis of CIM than the current guidelines do and thereby may facilitate the conduction of future pathophysiological and therapeutic studies. Although clinical trials are still lacking, in animal models, BGP-15, vamorolone, and ruxolitinib have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, to reduce muscle wasting and to improve muscle function and survival.

SUMMARY: In recent years, promising methods for early and confirmatory diagnosis of CIM have been developed, but still need validation. Experimental studies on novel pharmacological interventions show promising results in terms of preventive CIM treatments, but future clinical studies will be needed to study the effectiveness and safety of these drugs.

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