Effect of Noninvasive Positive-Pressure Ventilation on Survival in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Ann Intern Med. 1997 Sep 15;127(6):450-3. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-127-6-199709150-00006.

Abstract

Background: Noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation may benefit patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and respiratory insufficiency.

Objective: To determine 1) whether patients tolerant of noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation have better survival than intolerant patients and 2) whether bulbar symptoms account for intolerance of noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation.

Design: Observational cohort study.

Setting: Tertiary care referral center.

Patients: 39 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis who were treated with noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation.

Intervention: Noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation was started for patients with new orthopnea, new hypercapnia, or both. Patients were divided into two groups: those tolerant of and those intolerant of noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation.

Results: The risk for death from onset of respiratory insufficiency was higher for intolerant patients than for tolerant patients (relative risk, 3.1 [95% CI, 1.8 to 9.6]). Moderate or severe bulbar symptoms were more prevalent among intolerant patients than among tolerant patients (67% compared with 33%; P = 0.04).

Conclusions: Among patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, those who are tolerant of noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation have better survival than do those who are intolerant. Bulbar symptoms partially account for intolerance of noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / complications*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Tables
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiopathology
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Survival Analysis