Objectives: The Neuromuscular Registry of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (SLSJ), Québec, Canada was established for epidemiological surveillance of neuromuscular disorders including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The objectives of this study are to analyze the ALS clinical characteristics of the SLSJ population and to determine the incidence rate over time by five year periods since 1985.
Methods: The Registry was validated by a review of the medical records maintained at the CSSS de Chicoutimi, the regional university hospital and, by the estimation of the number of hospitalizations for ALS patients using the Quebec Hospital inpatient database (MED-ECHO).
Results: A total of 109 patients were included. Overall, the clinical features of ALS observed in SLSJ population are similar to those described in the literature. We observed a significant increase in the incidence rate of ALS during the 2005-2009 period compared with the previous periods. This is due to a significant increase in the incidence rate among the ≥65 years old group, from 4.68 per 100,000 persons/year (CI 95% 2.88-6.48) during 1985-2004 period to 12.22 (CI 95% 7.43-17.02) during 2005-2009 period.
Conclusion: Given the small size of the SLSJ population, a longer observation period will be needed to confirm a new steady state incidence of ALS in this region.