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Close monitoring of respiratory function reduces respiratory complications in DM1.

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July 15, 2017

Researchers and medical professionals from Europe, Canada and the USA gathered recently for a workshop in Europe to identify the main respiratory issues and best respiratory treatments for people with DM.

Nocturnal mechanical ventilation

Clinical observation of gas exchange

  • Measurement of respiration rate and work of breathing; comfort level; tachypnea
  • Assessment of chest wall motion; abdominal muscle recruitment
  • Observation for evidence of diaphragmatic paralysis

Respiratory muscle weakness

Adult Onset DM1

  • Weakness of the diaphragm, abdomen and chest wall muscles affecting the ability to cough, resulting in chronic lung infections


  • Failure of cerebral respiratory control, which may result in fetal distress
  • Pulmonary immaturity, which may be further complicated by premature birth


For those who have a tracheotomy, the right answer may be "as needed" if the patient can get off the ventilator intermittently. Keeping the patient comfortable and able to communicate is important.

Nicholas Johnson, M.D., University of Rochester Medical Center

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