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.
- Journal Article