Respiratory care received by individuals with duchenne muscular dystrophy from 2000 to 2011

Jennifer G. Andrews, Aida Soim, Shree Pandya, Christina P. Westfield, Emma Ciafaloni, Deborah J. Fox, David J. Birnkrant, Christopher M Cunniff, Daniel W. Sheehan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) causes progressive respiratory muscle weakness and decline in function, which can go undetected without monitoring. DMD respiratory care guidelines recommend scheduled respiratory assessments and use of respiratory assist devices. To determine the extent of adherence to these guidelines, we evaluated respiratory assessments and interventions among males with DMD in the Muscular Dystrophy Surveillance, Tracking, and Research Network (MD STARnet) from 2000 to 2011. METHODS: MD STARnet is a populationbased surveillance system that identifies all individuals born during or after 1982 residing in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, and western New York with Duchenne or Becker muscular dystrophy. We analyzed MD STARnet respiratory care data for non-ambulatory adolescent males (12–17 y old) and men (>18 y old) with DMD, assessing whether: (1) pulmonary function was measured twice yearly; (2) awake and asleep hypoventilation testing was performed at least yearly; (3) home mechanical insufflation-exsufflation, noninvasive ventilation, and tracheostomy/ ventilators were prescribed; and (4) pulmonologists provided evaluations. RESULTS: During 2000–2010, no more than 50% of both adolescents and men had their pulmonary function monitored twice yearly in any of the years; 67% or fewer were assessed for awake and sleep hypoventilation yearly. Although the use of mechanical insufflation-exsufflation and noninvasive ventilation is probably increasing, prior use of these devices did not prevent all tracheostomies, and at least 18 of 29 tracheostomies were performed due to acute respiratory illnesses. Fewer than 32% of adolescents and men had pulmonologist evaluations in 2010–2011. CONCLUSIONS: Since the 2004 publication of American Thoracic Society guidelines, there have been few changes in pulmonary clinical practice. Frequencies of respiratory assessments and assist device use among males with DMD were lower than recommended in clinical guidelines. Collaboration of respiratory therapists and pulmonologists with clinicians caring for individuals with DMD should be encouraged to ensure access to the full spectrum of in-patient and out-patient pulmonary interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1349-1359
Number of pages11
JournalRespiratory care
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Clinical guidelines
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Hypoventilation
  • Neuromuscular diseases
  • Noninvasive ventilation
  • Respiratory care
  • Tracheostomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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