Published on October 18, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Respiratory failure is one of the major complications associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The quest for alternative approaches for treating respiratory failure has led to the study, and subsequent FDA approval, of diaphragm pacing for use in ALS patients. However, there are still important unanswered questions about its benefit and impact.
In a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM), the outcomes of 28 of 34 ALS patients with diaphragm pacing systems (DPS) were analyzed for up to 14 months after implantation. All patients also used a bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) portable ventilator after DPS implantation. More than 50% of the patients reduced their use of BiPAP during the first 3-4 months after implantation and had slower declines in respiratory function. Overall, the researchers found that diaphragm pacing resulted in improved quality of life, with better sleep and daytime functioning, better breathing, and less fatigue.
"This study presents important positive results at one-year of follow-up that support the use of diaphragm pacing as an additional strategy to manage respiratory failure in patients with ALS," said Carlos Luciano, MD, AANEM News Science Editorial Board member.
"The data also confirms previously published results suggesting that diaphragm pacing improves sleep in ALS patients."
SOURCE American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM)