High-frequency chest wall oscillation in ALS: An exploratory randomized, controlled trial

D. J. Lange, N. Lechtzin, C. Davey, W. David, T. Heiman-Patterson, D. Gelinas, B. Becker, H. Mitsumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To evaluate changes in respiratory function in patients with ALS after using high-frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO). METHODS: This was a 12-week randomized, controlled trial of HFCWO in patients with probable or definite ALS, an Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale respiratory subscale score ≤11 and ≥5, and forced vital capacity (FVC) ≥40% predicted. RESULTS: We enrolled 46 patients (58.0 ± 9.8 years; 21 men, 25 women); 22 used HFCWO and 24 were untreated. Thirty-five completed the trial: 19 used HFCWO and 16 untreated. HFCWO users had less breathlessness (p = 0.021) and coughed more at night (p = 0.048) at 12 weeks compared to baseline. At 12 weeks, HFCWO users reported a decline in breathlessness (p = 0.048); nonusers reported more noise when breathing (p = 0.027). There were no significant differences in FVC change, peak expiratory flow, capnography, oxygen saturation, fatigue, or transitional dyspnea index. When patients with FVC between 40 and 70% predicted were analyzed, FVC showed a significant mean decrease in untreated patients but not in HFCWO patients; HFCWO patients had significantly less increased fatigue and breathlessness. Satisfaction with HFCWO was 79%. CONCLUSION: High-frequency chest wall oscillation was well tolerated, considered helpful by a majority of patients, and decreased symptoms of breathlessness. In patients with impaired breathing, high-frequency chest wall oscillation decreased fatigue and showed a trend toward slowing the decline of forced vital capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)991-997
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2006


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