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PM R. 2015 Jul;7(7):677-684. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2015.04.001. Epub 2015 Apr 3.

Feasibility of Lung Volume Recruitment in Early Neuromuscular Weakness: A Comparison Between Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Myotonic Dystrophy, and Postpolio Syndrome.

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Respiratory Division, McGill University Health Centre, 1001 Decarie Blvd, D05.2504 Montreal, Quebec, Canada H4A 3J1.
Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Department of Respiratory Therapy, Montreal Chest Institute, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Occupational Health, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Respiratory Division, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Meakins-Christie Laboratories, McGill University and Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



Lung volume recruitment (LVR) is a cough assistance technique used in persons with neuromuscular disorders (NMDs), most typically in those requiring noninvasive ventilation (NIV). Whether it may be useful in persons with NMDs who have milder respiratory impairment is unknown.


To assess the feasibility, impact on quality of life (QOL), and preliminary physiological effects of daily LVR in different categories of persons with NMDs who have an early stage of respiratory impairment.


Feasibility study.


Academic tertiary care center.


Outpatients diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (n = 8), postpolio syndrome (n = 10), and myotonic dystrophy (n = 6) who had restrictive respiratory defects but were not yet using NIV.


Participants were asked to perform LVR up to 4 times daily and log their LVR use in a diary. Physiological measurements and questionnaires were completed at baseline and after 3 months.


Compliance with LVR use was assessed, along with QOL and willingness to continue the treatment. Physiological measurements included forced vital capacity (FVC), lung insufflation capacity (LIC), and the LIC minus FVC difference.


Of the 24 recruited subjects, 7 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, 7 with postpolio syndrome, and 5 with myotonic dystrophy completed the study (n = 19). At baseline, mean values for FVC and spontaneous peak cough flow were 59.9% predicted and 373.1 L/min, respectively. For subjects completing the study, 74% were willing to continue long-term LVR use, and QOL scores were not adversely affected by LVR in any NMD subgroup. The LIC-FVC difference increased from baseline to follow-up by a mean of 0.243 L (P = .006) in all subjects (n = 19), suggesting a possible improvement in respiratory system mechanics.


In patients with NMDs who have early restrictive respiratory defects but do not yet require NIV, regular use of LVR is feasible with no negative impact on QOL over a 3-month period and may have physiological benefits. Further work is needed to determine whether early institution of LVR can improve respiratory system mechanics and help delay ventilatory failure in persons with NMDs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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