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J Neurol. 2012 Sep;259(9):1788-92. doi: 10.1007/s00415-011-6403-4. Epub 2012 Jan 19.

Improving survival in a large French ALS center cohort.

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INSERM, unité U708, F-75013, Neuroépidémiologie, Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, 47 Boulevard de l'Hôpital, 75651, Paris Cedex 13, France.


The aim of this work was to determine whether survival changed during 2002-2009 at a French amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) center. We included all patients with ALS who were seen consecutively at the center from January 2002-May 2009. Participants were followed from date of first visit through death, date of censoring, or December 31, 2009, whichever occurred first. Cox proportional hazard models computed hazard ratios (HR; 95% confidence interval CI) of death, and flexible modeling of continuous predictors (splines) assessed trends in survival. We analyzed a total of 2,037 ALS patients, of whom 1,471 died before the end of follow-up. Median survival was 2.83 years from onset and 1.65 years from first visit. Compared to patients first seen before 2004, the HR of death was 0.97 (95% CI = 0.85-1.11, p = 0.6721) for patients first seen in 2004-2005, 0.96 (95% CI = 0.83-1.10, p = 0.5125) for 2006-2007, and 0.56 (95% CI = 0.46-0.69, p < 0.0001) after 2007, while adjusting for other survival predictors. Spline analysis confirmed that survival remained stable during 2002-2006, then markedly improved. The proportion of patients receiving non-invasive ventilation (NIV) increased from 16 (2004) to 51% (2008). At this large ALS center, survival improved after 2006. Because more aggressive use of NIV was the principal therapeutic adaptation, our data suggest that better survival resulted from improved respiratory care.

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