Use of the rocking bed in the treatment of neurogenic respiratory insufficiency

QJM. 1994 Jul;87(7):423-9.


We describe 53 patients who received ventilatory support with a rocking bed. Diagnoses included previous poliomyelitis (30), muscular dystrophy (12), motor neurone disease (4), adult-onset acid maltase deficiency (4) and a miscellaneous group (3). Patients presented with respiratory insufficiency characterized by diaphragm weakness, progressive nocturnal hypoventilation and/or acute or chronic respiratory failure. Domiciliary rocking beds were used by 43 patients for a mean of 16.0 years (range 1 month to 35 years). Most patients were able to breathe adequately by day when sitting or standing, but needed assistance by rocking bed for 6-11 h when lying down for sleep. The rocking bed was well-tolerated, and associated with both symptomatic relief and amelioration of arterial blood gas abnormalities. Seventeen of these 43 patients discontinued its use, either because of discomfort (9) or increasing respiratory insufficiency (8). The rocking bed is a valuable adjunct in the management of the respiratory insufficiency associated with neuromuscular disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Beds*
  • Female
  • Glucan 1,4-alpha-Glucosidase / deficiency
  • Home Care Services
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Neuron Disease / complications
  • Muscular Dystrophies / complications
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / instrumentation*
  • Poliomyelitis / complications
  • Posture
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / rehabilitation*
  • Respiratory Therapy


  • Glucan 1,4-alpha-Glucosidase