Critical illness polyneuropathy (CIP) and critical illness myopathy (CIM) have been established as separate
entities of muscular weakness in critically ill patients, although both may be associated to each other in some respects.
Both are associated to systemic inflammatory response syndrome, sepsis, and severe sepsis. Major signs of nerve and
muscle disturbances in critically ill patients are muscle weakness and problems of weaning from the ventilator.
Electroneurographic measurements help to detect CIP early in the course of the disease, while muscle biopsy seems to
date the diagnostic tool of choice to detect CIM. Sepsis therapy is the major target to prevent the development of CIP and
CIM. However, no specific therapy of CIP and CIM has been established in the past. Therefore, management of patients
with CIP and CIM is mainly supportive. Neuromuscular weakness cause elongated times of ventilation, elongated hospital
stay, elongated times of rehabilitation, and increased mortality. This review provides an overview of clinical and
diagnostic features of CIP and CIM, and summarizes current pathophysiological and therapeutic concepts.