Impact of Expiratory Strength Training in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, expiratory muscle strength training, rehabilitation, respiratory training, swallowing

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Introduction: We evaluated the feasibility and impact of expiratory muscle strength training (EMST) on respiratory and bulbar function in persons with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Methods: Twenty-five ALS patients participated in this delayed intervention open-label clinical trial. Following a lead-in period, patients completed a 5-week EMST protocol. Outcome measures included: maximum expiratory pressure (MEP); physiologic measures of swallow and cough; and penetration–aspiration scale (PAS) scores. Results: Of participants who entered the active phase of the study (n = 15), EMST was well tolerated and led to significant increases in MEPs and maximum hyoid displacement during swallowing post-EMST (P < 0.05). No significant differences were observed for PAS scores or cough spirometry measures. Conclusions: EMST was feasible and well tolerated in this small cohort of ALS patients and led to improvements in expiratory force-generating pressures and swallow kinematics. Further investigation is warranted to confirm these preliminary findings. Muscle Nerve 54: 48–53, 2016

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Muscle & Nerve, v. 54, issue 1, p. 48-53