What is the cause of death in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)?

Updated: Jan 02, 2020
  • Author: Divakara Kedlaya, MBBS; Chief Editor: Ryan O Stephenson, DO  more...
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Answer

Answer

All deaths directly caused by ALS result from respiratory complications. This occurs primarily from the patient's inability to ventilate as respiratory muscle weakness progresses. In patients with bulbar weakness, aspiration of secretions or food may occur and precipitate pneumonia, resulting in further respiratory compromise; therefore, aggressive respiratory management is necessary in the comprehensive care of patients with ALS.


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