Objective: To evaluate the clinical characteristics and outcome of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) in an epidemiological based series of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. Methods: The study was performed using data from the Piemonte and Valle d'Aosta Register for ALS, a prospective epidemiological register enrolling all ALS incident cases in two Italian regions. Results: Among the 1260 patients incident in the period 1995-2004, 259 (20.6%) underwent NIV. Young male patients and subjects attending the tertiary ALS centres were more likely to undergo NIV. There was a progressive significant increase in the use of NIV during the study but was limited to patients attending the ALS tertiary centres. Median survival after NIV was 289 days (95% CI 255 to 333). Conclusions: In an epidemiological setting, NIV represents an increasingly utilised option for the treatment of respiratory disturbances in ALS and has favourable effects on survival, in particular among patients followed by tertiary ALS centres. Sociocultural factors, such as age, gender and marital status, strongly influence the probability of undergoing NIV. Efforts should be made to remove these obstacles in order to spread the use of NIV in all ALS patients with respiratory failure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)