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Arch Dis Child. 2004 Feb;89(2):121-4.

Outcome of non-invasive positive pressure ventilation in paediatric neuromuscular disease.

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  • 1The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada.



Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) has a beneficial effect on nocturnal hypoventilation and hospitalisation rates in adults with static or slowly progressive neuromuscular disease and respiratory failure. Its role in children affected with similar disease processes, however, remains unclear.


To investigate the impact of NPPV on hospitalisations and sleep related respiratory parameters in children with neuromuscular disease.


Fifteen children (mean age 11.7, range 3.4-17.8 years) diagnosed with neuromuscular disease who had been started on nocturnal NPPV and had at least one year of follow up since the initiation of such therapy were studied. Patients served as their own controls and comparison was made of the years preceding and following the initiation of NPPV.


Children spent 85% fewer days in hospital (mean pre-NPPV 48.0 days, mean post-NPPV 7.0 days) and 68% less days in intensive care after initiation of NPPV (mean pre-NPPV 12.0 days, mean post-NPPV 3.9 days). Sleep study parameters including number of desaturations, apnoea-hypopnoea index and transcutaneous pCO2 levels improved after initiation of NPPV.


NPPV can decrease hospitalisations for children with neuromuscular disease and improves sleep related respiratory parameters. A prospective study is now needed to further delineate the role of NPPV in this population of children.

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