Assessment and monitoring of ventilatory function and cough efficacy in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
AbstractAssessing and monitoring respiratory muscle function is crucial in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, since impaired function can lead to either ventilatory failure or respiratory tract infection. Spirometry, diffusing capacity of the lung, breathing pattern, sleep study, blood gas analysis and respiratory muscle strength tests, as well as cough peak flow and cough expiratory volume measurements can provide relevant information on ventilatory function and cough efficacy. With regard to respiratory muscle strength testing, the rational approach consists in starting with volitional and non-invasive tests and later using invasive and non-volitional tests. This review focuses on both ventilatory and respiratory muscle strength testing, in order to undertake a timely treatment of respiratory failure and/or impaired cough efficacy. So far, the current literature has not highlighted any gold standard which stipulates when to commence ventilation and cough support in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. A composite set of clinical and functional parameters is required for treatment scheduling to monitor lung involvement and follow-up in these patients.
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