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Letter to the Editor
Critical Care Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 768456, 5 pages
Review Article

Effectiveness of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy after Traumatic Brain Injury in the Intensive Care Unit

Departement of Neurorehabilitation, Rehaklinik Bellikon, Mutschellenstrasse 2, 5454 Bellikon, Switzerland

Received 12 December 2011; Accepted 23 January 2012

Academic Editor: Sönke Johannes

Copyright © 2012 Stephanie Hellweg. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Physiotherapy and occupational therapy are frequently administered in intensive care units (ICUs) after traumatic brain injury (TBI) to promote recovery. The increasing economic pressure and the growing need for evidence of therapeutic effectiveness are reasons for reviewing the currently available scientific data. The databases of OTseeker, PEDro, Medline, and Cochrane were searched for studies on frequently applied therapeutic procedures in the ICU following a TBI. It becomes evident that the currently available data on physiotherapy and occupational therapy are very limited. Consequently, it is not possible to give conclusive recommendations within an evidence-based context. Studies of other neurological disorders indicate that early mobilisation positively influences outcome parameters such as the ability to walk. It can be concluded from three studies that physiotherapy for the prevention or treatment of ventilator-associated pneumonia is not effective. The proof of effectiveness for other physiotherapeutic and occupational therapy interventions must still be demonstrated.