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Parsons EC, Carter JC, Wrede JE, Donovan LM, Palen BN. Practical implementation of noninvasive ventilation in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: lessons learned from a clinical case series. Canadian journal of respiratory therapy : CJRT = Revue canadienne de la therapie respiratoire : RCTR. 2019 Jan 9; 55:13-15.
Purpose: Noninvasive ventilation (NIV) may improve survival and quality of life in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) patients. There is a surprising paucity of practical guidelines for office-based implementation and management of NIV outside of tertiary ALS centers. We saw the need for a clinical protocol to allow feasible and consistent NIV management in this patient population. Methods: We created a clinical protocol for office-based initiation of NIV implemented on consecutive ALS patients referred from our regional ALS multidisciplinary clinic. The protocol provided initial empiric settings using a bilevel device in volume-assured pressure support mode. A respiratory therapist (RT) initiated NIV in an office setting and made adjustments according to patient tolerance and therapy targets outlined in the protocol. Later setting changes were performed at patient or provider request. We evaluated patient adherence and efficacy via device download at 30 days and 1 year. Results: We present data from a case series of the first 14 consecutive patients initiated on NIV over a 20-month period. Our protocol underwent iterative modification based on clinical experience and patient feedback. Early challenges included the significant time and resource burden required to coordinate device downloads and patient follow-up. Early 30-day NIV adherence was variable (median 20 out of 30 days), while 1-year NIV adherence was excellent (median 27.5 out of 30 days). Conclusions: Our RT-driven clinical NIV protocol was feasible but labor intensive. Achieving real-world adherence of NIV in our ALS patients required iterative protocol adjustment, significant RT provider time, and tele-based follow-up.