Introduction: We evaluated the feasibility and impact of expiratory muscle strength training (EMST) on respiratory and bulbar function in persons with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Methods: Twenty-five ALS patients participated in this delayed intervention open-label clinical trial. Following a lead-in period, patients completed a 5-week EMST protocol. Outcome measures included: maximum expiratory pressure (MEP); physiologic measures of swallow and cough; and penetration-aspiration scale (PAS) scores.
Results: Of participants who entered the active phase of the study (n = 15), EMST was well tolerated and led to significant increases in MEPs and maximum hyoid displacement during swallowing post-EMST (P < 0.05). No significant differences were observed for PAS scores or cough spirometry measures.
Conclusions: EMST was feasible and well tolerated in this small cohort of ALS patients and led to improvements in expiratory force-generating pressures and swallow kinematics. Further investigation is warranted to confirm these preliminary findings. Muscle Nerve 54: 48-53, 2016.
Keywords: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; expiratory muscle strength training; rehabilitation; respiratory training; swallowing.
Published 2015. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.