Respiratory treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2008 Aug;19(3):559-72, x. doi: 10.1016/j.pmr.2008.02.007.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease with no known cure. The major cause of mortality and major morbidities is related to the effects of the disease on the muscles of the respiratory system (ie, the inspiratory, expiratory, and upper airway muscles). Dyspnea, swallowing difficulties, sialorrhea, and impaired cough are all symptoms that can be palliated through pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic means. Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation, in particular, is a technique that not only relieves dyspnea but may also extend the lives of patients who have this disease. It should be offered to all patients who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with a forced vital capacity of less than 50 percent.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Therapy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome