Telemedicine for Facio-Scapulo-Humeral Muscular Dystrophy: A multidisciplinary approach to improve quality of life and reduce hospitalization rate?

Simona Portaro, Rocco Salvatore Calabrò, Placido Bramanti, Giuseppe Silvestri, Michele Torrisi, Valeria Conti-Nibali, Santina Caliri, Christian Lunetta, Bernardo Alagna, Antonino Naro, Alessia Bramanti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Facio-Scapulo-Humeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD) is an autosomal dominant inherited disorder characterized by a variable and asymmetric involvement of facial, trunk, upper and lower extremity muscles. Although respiratory weakness is a relatively unknown feature of FSHD, it is not rare. Telemedicine has been used in a variety of health care fields, but only recently, with the advent of sophisticated technology, its interest among health professionals became evident, even in such diseases.

OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the telemedicine efficacy in FSHD.

METHODS: Four siblings affected by a severe form of FSHD, living in a rural area far away from the referral center for neuromuscular diseases, who used a wheelchair, suffered from chronic respiratory failure and were provided with long-term non-invasive mechanical ventilation, received a 6-month period of telemedicine support. This consisted of video conferencing (respiratory physiotherapy, psychological support, neurological and pneumological assessment, nurse-coach supervision) and telemonitoring of cardiorespiratory variables (oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and heart rate).

RESULTS: We performed 540 video conference sessions per patient, including three daily contacts with short monitoring oximetry measurements, blood pressure, and heart-rate measurements, psychological support, neurological and pneumological assessment, nurse-coach supervision.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that our telemedicine system was user-friendly, efficient for the home treatment of FSHD, and allowed reducing hospital admissions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Health Journal
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Sep 21 2017

Keywords

  • Journal Article

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