To Whom It May Concern:
________________ is an 18 year old man with a diagnosis of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The most recent reevaluation in the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association clinic was on 4/12/01. The respiratory examination was significant for underexpansion of the chest and lungs with a vital capacity of 1730 ml (31% of normal) when sitting and 1640 ml supine, maximum insufflation capacity (MIC) (air stacked breaths from a manual resuscitator) of 1730 ml, peak cough flow (PCF) 5.0 L/s. The SaO2 was 99 percent. Maximum end-tidal pCO2 was 32 mm Hg.
Assessment: This patient has chronic inspiratory muscle dysfunction that results in ventilatory insufficiency and severe expiratory muscle (cough) insufficiency. Because of severe, progressive neuromuscular disease, unless trained and equipped the patient will develop pneumonia and acute respiratory failure during every severe chest cold. This will require hospitalization, intensive care, intubation for respiratory support, and probably lead to pressure to undergo otherwise unnecessary tracheostomy.
Intervention: The patient requires an oximeter, rapid access to an In-exsufflator, and he will need one at home when his PCF and VC decrease. We trained this patient in nasal and mouthpiece intermittent positive pressure ventilation (IPPV), manually assisted coughing, and in mechanical insufflation-exsufflation. Since acute respiratory failure can be prevented with the use of these noninvasive inspiratory and expiratory muscle aids (1), and this patient has been trained in their use, the following equipment is now required for home use:
Noninvasive IPPV and assisted airway secretion elimination should be used as needed to prevent oxyhemoglobin desaturation and, therefore, respiratory failure. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at: ________________.
John R. Bach, M.D.
Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Co-Director, Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Clinic of UMDNJ-NJMS
1) Bach JR et al. Prevention of pulmonary morbidity for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Chest 1997;112:1024-1028.
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