Nightime NIV Initiation in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in an Outpatient Setting


Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri




Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis


Procedure: Nightime NIV initiation

Study type


Funder types



CTS 02/2011

Details and patient eligibility


In patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), non-invasive mechanical ventilation (NIV) is usually initiated in an in-hospital regime. The investigators evaluated if NIV initiated in an outpatient setting can be as effective as regards patients' adherence. The investigators also evaluated factors predicting NIV adherence and disease progression.

Full description

All patients with a definite ALS diagnosis, aged > 18 years, referred to the ALS outpatient clinics of the Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri Institute of Lumezzane (Brescia) and Istituto Don Gnocchi Onlus (Milano), Italy, for respiratory functional assessments for the purpose of early initiation of NIV were considered. Patients who were in clinically stable condition and without chest infections during the previous 3 months were considered eligible for the study. Between March 2011 and March 2014, during an outpatient visit, the patients were randomized 1:1 to two groups for NIV initiation: outpatient vs. inpatient protocol. In both groups a diurnal NIV initiation trial was performed using pressure-support ventilators in spontaneous/timed mode with a preset tidal volume (300 ml/kg) and a fixed back-up respiratory rate (12 breaths/min). The trial included: choice of the mask, setting of ventilator pressure, at least 2 hours of NIV under supervision. Then, the patients underwent the nighttime NIV initiation trial for a maximum of 20 nights according to the outpatient vs. inpatient protocol. NIV trial was stopped when: 1) patients used NIV > 4 hours/night for 3 consecutive nights, 2) patients and caregivers were able to manage with ventilator, 3) patients failed after 10 consecutive educational sessions. At enrollment (T0), the end of NIV initiation trial (T1) and after 3 months from the end of the trial (T2) respiratory function tests, blood gas analysis, and sleep study were performed. At T1 the investigators assessed NIV acceptance (as a minimum of 3 consecutive days >4 h/night), and dyspnea symptoms by VAS (day/night), staff and patients' satisfaction. At T2: NIV adherence (>120 h/month) and patients' satisfaction.


50 patients




18+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • consecutive patients
  • definite ALS diagnosis
  • aged > 18 years
  • in clinically stable condition
  • referred to the ALS outpatient clinics of the Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri Institute of Lumezzane (Brescia) and the Istituto Don Gnocchi Onlus (Milano), Italy for respiratory functional assessment for the purpose of early initiation of NIV
  • no chest infections during the previous 3 months.

Exclusion criteria

  • cognitive impairment
  • refusal to participate
  • severe comorbidities and contraindications to NIV (arrhythmias, cardiac failure, history of pneumothorax)
  • distance from hospital > 40 km, travel problems to attend the outpatient clinic

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


None (Open label)

50 participants in 2 patient groups

inpatients group
Active Comparator group
In-hospital nightime NIV initiation. For the inpatients Group, NIV was initiated in the respiratory wards of the two hospitals and continued during night for a minimum of 4 hours/night. Inpatients had a 24-h availability of health staff care. During the night, they had nurses and physicians available on-hand.
Procedure: Nightime NIV initiation
outpatients group
Experimental group
Home nightime NIV initiation. For the outpatients group, diurnal NIV was initiated during a scheduled visit in a hospital dedicated room(at least 4 hours/day of care), the trial proceeded at home during the night with a personal caregiver. A minimum of 4 hours/night was required. No support during the night was provided to these patients.
Procedure: Nightime NIV initiation

Trial contacts and locations



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