Respiratory therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a primer

Muscle Nerve. 2012 Sep;46(3):313-31. doi: 10.1002/mus.23282.


Respiratory complications are a common cause of morbidity and mortality in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Treatment of respiratory insufficiency with noninvasive ventilation (NIV) improves ALS patients' quality of life and survival. Evidence-based practice guidelines for the management of ALS patients recommend treatment of respiratory insufficiency with NIV as well as consideration of insufflation/exsufflation to improve clearance of airway secretions. Despite these recommendations respiratory therapies remain underused. In this review we provide a practical guide for the clinician to prescribe and manage respiratory therapies for the patient with ALS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / complications
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / therapy*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Respiratory Therapy / adverse effects
  • Respiratory Therapy / methods*