Mechanical insufflation-exsufflation vs. tracheal suctioning via tracheostomy tubes for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a pilot study

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2003 Oct;82(10):750-3. doi: 10.1097/01.PHM.0000087456.28979.2E.


Objective: To compare the effects of mechanical insufflation-exsufflation vs. suctioning via tracheostomy tubes on respiratory variables for six amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients.

Design: In this prospective crossover study, six consecutive patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis who required continuous mechanical ventilation via tracheostomy tubes and developed chest infections underwent measurement of pulse oxyhemoglobin saturation (SpO2), peak inspiratory pressure (PIP), mean airway pressure (Pawm), and work of breathing performed by the ventilator (WOBv) at baseline and 5 and 30 min after tracheal suctioning and 5 min after mechanical insufflation-exsufflation.

Results: The baseline values were 93.50 +/- 2.26% for SpO2 in ambient air, 18.50 +/- 4.23 cm H2O for PIP, 4.67 +/- 1.37 cm H2O for Pawm, and 1.03 +/- 0.25 J/liters for WOBv. Only WOBv changed significantly, decreasing after tracheal suctioning (P < 0.05), whereas all variables improved significantly after mechanical insufflation-exsufflation.

Conclusion: For ventilator-dependent patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, mechanical insufflation-exsufflation via a tracheostomy tube with an inflated cuff may be more effective in eliminating airway secretions than conventional tracheal suctioning.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / complications
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / therapy*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insufflation / methods*
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / instrumentation
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oximetry
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Suction / instrumentation
  • Tracheostomy / instrumentation
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Work of Breathing / physiology