2022 Volume 25 Issue 3 Pages 156-161
Introduction: Early implementation of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) has been reported to prevent muscle atrophy and physical functional decline in patients requiring mechanical ventilation. However, its effect in patients with acute exacerbation of interstitial lung disease (ILD) remains unclear. We herein report our experience using the NMES combined with mobilization in a patient with an acute exacerbation of rheumatoid arthritis-associated ILD (RA-ILD) requiring mechanical ventilation. Case Presentation: A 74-year-old man was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and put on mechanical ventilation due to severe acute exacerbation of RA-ILD. Early mobilization and the NMES using a belt electrode skeletal muscle electrical stimulation system were started on day 7 of hospitalization (day 2 of ICU admission). The NMES duration was 20 min, performed once daily. The patient could perform mobility exercises on day 8 and could walk on day 16. We assessed his rectus femoris and quadriceps muscle thicknesses using ultrasound imaging, and found decreases of 4.5% and 8.4%, respectively, by day 14. On day 27, he could independently visit the lavatory, and the NMES was discontinued. He was instructed to start long-term oxygen therapy on day 49 and was discharged on day 63. His 6-minute walk distance was 308 m and his muscle thickness recovered to levels comparable to those at the initial evaluation at the time of discharge. Conclusion: Combining the NMES and mobilization started in the early phase and continued after ICU discharge was safe and effective in a patient with a severe acute exacerbation of RA-ILD.