Introduction: Survivors of acute respiratory failure develop persistent muscle weakness and deficits in cardiopulmonary endurance combining to limit physical functioning. Early data from the Covid-19 pandemic suggest a high incidence of critically ill patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU) will require mechanical ventilation for acute respiratory failure. Covid-19 patients surviving an admission to the ICU are expected to suffer from physical and cognitive impairments that will limit quality of life and return to pre-hospital level of functioning. In this present study, the investigators will evaluate the safety and feasibility of providing a novel clinical pathway combining ICU after-care at an ICU Recovery clinic with physical therapy interventions. Methods and Analysis: In this single-center, prospective (pre, post cohort) trial in patients surviving ICU admission for Covid-19. The investigators hypothesize that this novel combination is a) safe and feasible to provide for patients surviving Covid-19; b) improve physical function and exercise capacity measured by performance on 6-minute walk test and Short Performance Physical battery; and c) reduce incidence of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress assessed with Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Impact of Events Scale-revised. Safety will be assessed by pooled adverse events and reason for early termination of interventions. Feasibility will be assessed by rate of adherence and attrition. Repeated measures ANOVA will be utilized to assess change in outcomes from at first ICU Recovery Clinic follow-up (2-weeks) and 3- and 6-months post hospital discharge. Ethics and Dissemination: The trial has received ethics approval at the University of Kentucky and enrollment has begun. The results of this trial will support the feasibility of providing ICU follow-up and physical therapy interventions for patients surviving critical illness for Covid-19 and may begin to support effectiveness of such interventions. Investigators plan to disseminate trial results in peer-reviewed journals, as well as presentation at physical therapy and critical care national and international conferences.



Eligible Ages
Over 18 Years
Eligible Genders
Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion Criteria

  • Adult patients (>18 years of age) surviving an ICU admission with laboratory confirmed Covid-19.

Exclusion Criteria

  • pre-existing neurological or orthopedic injury, disease, or condition that would prevent participation in exercise interventions.
  • patient not ambulatory prior to hospitalization
  • patient not expected to survivor 90 days after hospitalization
  • pregnant
  • prisoner

Study Design

Study Type
Intervention Model
Single Group Assignment
Primary Purpose
None (Open Label)
Masking Description
Prospective study with one-treatment arm

Arm Groups

ArmDescriptionAssigned Intervention
ICU followup + physical therapy
Patients surviving ICU admission for Covid-19 will receive ICU follow-up care in an ICU Recovery Clinic plus 8 weeks of physical therapy interventions. ICU Recovery Clinic is standard of care for patients surviving medical ICU admission at University of Kentucky with potential to attend in person or complete through telemedicine up to 5 appointments in the first year after hospital discharge. Physical therapy interventions completed at an outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation center or through telemedicine is not currently standard of care for patients in the short-term recovery phase (1-6 months after hospital discharge) after critical illness.
  • Other: ICU Recovery + Physical Therapy
    Physical therapy interventions will be supervised by a physical therapist (>20 years of experience in ICU and pulmonary rehabilitation). Potential interventions include endurance/aerobic training (treadmill training, upper and lower extremity ergometer, and recumbent step machine), upper and lower extremity resistance strength training, balance training, functional movement training, and education. If the interventions are providing in the home environment the exercises will be completed through Zoom, video communications app. Home-based interventions will include seated and standing exercise including resistance exercises (such as lifting small weights) and endurance (e.g. marching or stepping in place, repetitive sit-to-stand training). Physical therapist will provide verbal instructions for motivation and adherence to exercise interventions.

Recruiting Locations

UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science and nearby locations

University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40536
Kirby Mayer, DPT, PhD(c)

More Details

University of Kentucky

Study Contact

Kirby P Mayer, PhD

Detailed Description

ICU Recovery Clinic is standard of care for patients surviving a critical illness in the Medical ICU at the University of Kentucky. The ICU Recovery Clinic includes a transdisciplinary team with input from five disciplines that provide coordinated outpatient care with a focus on medical issues, medication management, nutrition, sleep disruption, and any issues related to post-intensive care syndrome such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, cognitive dysfunction and physical impairments.

Individualized physical therapy treatment: After the initial ICU recovery clinic appointment patients will begin their 8-week physical therapy program which will be delivered 1-2 times per week in a supervised 1:1 session and supplemented with 3 days of unsupervised home exercises and walking program on days not participating in physical therapy sessions. Supervised sessions will be run by a physical therapist (>20 years of experience in ICU and pulmonary rehabilitation) either face to face in outpatient setting or through telemedicine using video consultation platforms for patients unable to attend appointments due to transmission risk, transportation issues, or geographically living >45 miles from clinic. Prior to commencing the first treatment session patients will complete baseline testing to inform the starting parameters (frequency, intensity, repetitions) based on performance in physical tests such as 6MWT and muscle strength testing. The patient will receive an individualized and tailored physical therapy treatment, which will be targeted towards increasing their aerobic fitness, muscle strength and functional ability.


Study information shown on this site is derived from (a public registry operated by the National Institutes of Health). The listing of studies provided is not certain to be all studies for which you might be eligible. Furthermore, study eligibility requirements can be difficult to understand and may change over time, so it is wise to speak with your medical care provider and individual research study teams when making decisions related to participation.