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A survey examining Mechanical Insufflation-Exsufflation use in UK, adult intensive care units


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A survey examining Mechanical Insufflation-Exsufflation use in UK, adult intensive care units.

Ema Swingwood1, Dr Lyvonne Tume2 and Prof Fiona Cramp2.

1Adult Therapy Services, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol, United Kingdom, BS2 8HW; 2 Faculty of Health & Applied Sciences, University of the West of England


Despite potential benefits it is not known how widely mechanical insufflation-exsufflation (MI-E) devices are used by physiotherapists on UK intensive care units (ICU).


To establish baseline information about the use of MI-E in adult ICU’s across the UK.


•To quantify use of MI-E in an ICU setting across the UK
•To explore perceived enablers/barriers to using the device
•To explore physiotherapist’s views regarding appropriate patient groups for the application of MI-E

Physiotherapists working in a permanent post on UK, adult ICU were invited to participate in an electronic survey. Ethical approval was granted by the Faculty Research Ethics Committee, University of the West of England, Bristol.


•166 complete surveys returned, with good geographical UK representation (figure 1).
•Over half of respondents were band 7 or above (72% 119/166), with a mean±SD of 13±7 years since qualification. 
•Nearly all had access to MI-E on ICU (98% 163/166), with a range of devices reported.
•Estimated frequency of use varied, with the majority reporting weekly or monthly (n=52/163, 32% and n=50/163, 31% respectively). 
•Just over half used MI-E with intubated patients (n=86/163, 53%). In contrast, 99% reported MI-E use with extubated patients.  Of those who did not use   MI-E in intubated patients (n=74/163, 45%), a range of perceived barriers was reported (figure 2).

MI-E is widely available on adult ICU’s across the UK. Physiotherapists reported greater use with extubated patients. Barriers to MI-E use in the intubated population warrants further investigation.

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