Faculty Advisor(s)

Matthew Somma

Document Type

Course Paper

Publication Date



© 2018 Chelsea VanDriel


Background and Purpose: An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative in nature or induced by birth. Hypoxic/anoxic ischemic brain injuries (HIBI) result from global lack of oxygen to the brain from events such as drowning, choking, and cardiac or respiratory arrest. Limited research has been done regarding physical therapy (PT) interventions to improve functional mobility, gait, and tolerance to activity in an inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) with this patient population. Thus, the purpose of this case report is to provide PT interventions that were utilized in an IRF setting for a patient who experienced a HIBI resulting in severe ataxia and myoclonic movements. Case Description: The patient was a 28-year-old male who experienced a choking incident resulting in severe ataxia and myoclonic tremors secondary to an HIBI. The patient received 25 days of skilled therapy in an IRF totaling 3 hours per day to address limitations in bed mobility, coordination, transfer ability, and gait. Outcomes: After 25 days of PT services, the patient’s functional mobility improved as measured by level of assistance required for each functional task and distance ambulated. Within the IRF, a modified Functional Independence Measure (FIM) scoring was utilized to assess physical assistance provided to the patient regardless of assistive device used, distance ambulated, and environment set-up. Discussion: This case report demonstrated improvements in level of assistance to perform functional mobility that can be accomplished through intensive and consistent PT interventions. However, there is limited research in the area of HIBIs, therefore, more research is required to provide the PT practice with objective assessment tools to better track patient progress.


The case report poster for this paper can be found here:




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