Early initiation of night-time NIV in an outpatient setting: a randomized non-inferiority study in ALS patients

Enrica Bertella, Paolo Banfi, Mara Paneroni, Silvia Grilli, Luca Bianchi, Eleonora Volpato, Michele Vitacca

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BACKGROUND: In patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), non-invasive ventilation (NIV) is usually initiated in an in-hospital regime.

AIM: We investigated if NIV initiated in an outpatient setting can be as effective in terms of patients' acceptance/adherence. We also evaluated factors predicting NIV acceptance and adherence and disease progression.

DESIGN: Prospective randomized study.

SETTING: Outpatient versus inpatient rehabilitation.


METHODS: ALS patients were randomized to two groups for NIV initiation: outpatients versus inpatients. At baseline (T0), end of NIV trial program (T1) and after 3 months from T1 (T2), respiratory function tests, blood gas analysis, and sleep study were performed. At T1, we assessed: NIV acceptance (>4 h/night), and dyspnea symptoms (day/night) by Visual analogue scale (VAS), staff and patients' experience (how difficult NIV was to accept, how difficult ventilator was to manage, satisfaction); at T2: NIV adherence (>120 h/month) and patients' experience.

RESULTS: Fifty patients participated. There were no differences in acceptance failure (P=0.733) or adherence failure (P=0.529). At T1, outpatients had longer hours of nocturnal ventilation (P<0.02), at T2 this was similar (P=0.34). Female gender and spinal onset of the disease were predictors for NIV acceptance/adherence failure. There were no between-group differences in progression of respiratory impairment, symptoms and sleep quality.

CONCLUSIONS: Early outpatient initiation of NIV in ALS is as effective as inpatient initiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)892-899
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Journal Article


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