Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 1

Treatment

How does someone with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis prevent breathing complications?

Nutritional support services and pulmonologists will work together to prevent swallowing and breathing complications.

Sleep assistance: The muscles that help with breathing will eventually begin to weaken in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Machines can be used at night to help with breathing. Intermittent positive pressure ventilation (IPPV) or bi-level positive airway pressure (BIPAP) can be used to help breathe during sleep. These devices help inflate someone’s lungs by force.

Daytime assistance: The above mentioned devices can begin to be used full time. The NeuRx Diaphragm Pacing System is another option for some people with ALS, in which electrodes are implanted to cause the diaphragm (breathing muscle) to contract.

Full-time support: Mechanical ventilators (respirators) are machines that inflate and deflate a person’s lungs for them so they can breathe. A tube must go into the windpipe through the nose, mouth, or trachea (tracheostomy). This does not slow down the progression of ALS, but does allow patients to live longer.

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