Is chronic ventilatory support really effective in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

A. Hazenberg*, H. A. M. Kerstjens, S. C. L. Prins, K. M. Vermeulen, P. J. Wijkstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
236 Downloads (Pure)


Most patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) develop respiratory insufficiency in the advanced stage of their disease. Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) is commonly regarded to be a treatment that is effective in reducing these complaints. To assess whether the effect of NIV on gas exchange and quality of life (QOL) is different in patients with ALS versus without ALS. A post hoc analysis was done with data from a previously published trial, in which all patients were instituted on NIV. Arterial blood gasses were assessed next to QOL by generic as well as disease-specific questionnaires. 77 patients started NIV: 30 with ALS and 47 without. Both groups showed significant improvements in blood gasses after 2 and 6 months. Compared to the non-ALS group, the ALS group had significantly worse scores after 6 months in MRF-28, SRI, HADS and SF-36 than the non-ALS group. This study shows that NIV improves gas exchange, both in patients with and without ALS. QOL improves markedly more in patients without ALS than in those with ALS, in whom only some domains improve. Our observation of little or no effect in ALS patients warrants a large study limited to ALS patients only.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2456-2461
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2016


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Quality of life
  • Non-invasive ventilation
  • SF-36
  • ALS

Cite this