Spinal Muscular Atrophy
The spinal muscular atrophies (SMA) are a group of heritable disorders that vary greatly in terms of severity. Individuals with SMA experience progressive neuromuscular weakness, abnormalities in spinal development, and deterioration in pulmonary function.1
In SMA, pulmonary complications pose the greatest threat to health and survival. Impaired respiratory muscle strength diminishes the ability to take a deep breath and to clear airway secretions. Weak swallowing muscles increase risk for accidental inhalation of oral secretions, food, drink, and stomach contents into the lungs.2 Serious pulmonary complications may result, including:
- Airway obstruction
- Airway inflammation
- Increased mucus production
- Chemical or bacterial pneumonia
- Lung damage
- Diminished ability to clear secretions
- Weakened pulmonary defenses
- Progressive lung disease
- Respiratory arrest
In SMA, respiratory complications are the leading cause of illness and premature death. In the past decade, however, health and survival have improved significantly with new treatments and aggressive disease management. Effective treatment must include daily Airway Clearance Therapy to reduce the risk of pulmonary infection and progressive lung injury.3
Airway Clearance with The Vest® System
The Vest® Airway Clearance System is an easy-to-use medical device for children and adults. The Vest® System is quiet, comfortable and portable. Its features promote user independence and simplify treatment routines.
The Vest® System uses a technology called High Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation (HFCWO). The Vest® System has an inflatable garment connected by Air Hoses to an Air Pulse Generator. During therapy, the inflatable garment inflates and deflates rapidly, applying gentle pressure to the chest wall. This works to loosen and thin mucus and to move it toward the larger airways, where it can be cleared by coughing or suctioning.
The Vest® System — Safe and Effective Therapy
HFCWO has been widely described in medical literature. More than 80 studies demonstrate the efficacy and safety of HFCWO for a variety of patients.
Learn more about clinical evidence and support:
- HFCWO (The Vest® System) Research
- Case Study: Spinal Muscular Atrophy and Atelectasis - Tom Hall (employed by Hill-Rom)
- Airway Clearance Needs in Neuromuscular Disease: An Overview - Jane Braverman (employed by Hill-Rom)
- Chest Physiotherapy: The Gold Standard? - Jane Braverman (employed by Hill-Rom)
- Munsat, TL. The spinal muscular atrophies. In Current Neurology, Chapter 3, Vol. 14, 1994, (Mosby-Year Book, Inc.), pp. 55-71.
- Samaha FJ, Buncher CR, Russman BS, White ML, Iannaccone ST, et. al. Pulmonary function in spinal muscular atrophy. J Child Neurol 1994; 9(3): 326-329.
- Zerres K, Rudnik-Schoneborn S, Forrest E, Lusakowska A, Borkowska J, Hausmanowa-Petrusewicz I. A collaborative study on the natural history of childhood and juvenile onset proximal spinal muscular atrophy (type II and III SMA): 569 patients. J Neurol Sci 1997 Feb 27; 146(1): 67-72.