Diaphragm training in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Author: Nardin R, O\'Donnell C, Loring SH, Nie R, Hembre K, Walsh J, Arboleda BW, Muzikansky A, Nguyen D, Raynor E.
Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA. rnardin@bidmc.harvard.edu
Conference/Journal: J Clin Neuromuscul Dis
Date published: 2008 Dec
Other: Volume ID: 10 , Issue ID: 2 , Pages: 56-60 , Word Count: 156

There is a continued need for therapies to improve respiratory function and quality of life in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In this pilot trial, we studied 8 subjects with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and respiratory involvement. We measured respiratory function and quality of life at baseline. We then taught subjects diaphragm training, a method of breath control designed to improve respiratory muscle strength and efficiency. We repeated measures of respiratory function and quality of life 6 and 12 weeks later. There was no significant improvement in any outcome measure after instituting diaphragm training. There was a nonsignificant trend toward a slower rate of decline in respiratory function in those subjects who mastered the technique; however, only half the subjects were able to successfully change their pattern of breathing. A larger study of this technique is warranted; however, in determining the sample size for a larger study, the difficulty for patients in mastering the technique must be taken into consideration.