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Dr. Michelle Kho’s research uses the RT-300 supine bicycle – which allows patients to work on strengthening their legs while they are in their hospital bed.

Early bicycle exercise during their stay in a hospital intensive care unit (ICU) may help some patients recover more quickly.

Researchers at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and McMaster University have demonstrated that physiotherapists can safely start in-bed cycling sessions with critically ill, mechanically ventilated patients early on in their ICU stay.

“People may think that ICU patients are too sick for physical activity, but we know that if patients start in-bed cycling two weeks into their ICU stay, they will walk farther at hospital discharge,” says the study’s lead author Michelle Kho, an assistant professor with the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University and physiotherapist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

“Our TryCYCLE study builds on this previous work and finds it is safe and feasible to systematically start in-bed cycling within the first four days of mechanical ventilation and continue throughout a patient’s ICU stay.”

By strengthening their muscles and overall health, patients may go home sooner, stronger and happier. This not only benefits the patient, but could alleviate the high cost of critical care for the health care system. TryCYCLE is the first of a series of studies that will determine the effects of early in-bed cycling with critically ill patients.

Learn more about this story from CTV News and CBC News.

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