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Riluzole And Prognostic Factors In Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Long-term And Short-term Survival: A Population-Based Study Of 1149 Cases In Taiwan

C. T. Lee, Y. Chiu, Kai-chen Wang, Chi-shin Hwang, Kuan-Hsiang Lin, I-Ta Lee, Ching-Piao Tsai
Published 2013 · Medicine

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Background Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rare disease in Taiwan; thus, estimation of ALS mortality is difficult. We evaluated factors associated with ALS survival in Taiwan. Methods The study enrolled 1149 Taiwanese with a primary diagnosis of ALS during 1999–2008. Follow-up information was available for all patients; mean (SD) duration of follow-up was 2.91 (2.62) years. Medical interventions, including noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV), tracheotomy, gastrostomy, and riluzole, were included in time-dependent survival analysis. Results Of the 1149 ALS patients, 438 (38.12%) died during follow-up. Mortality in the first year was 16%, which was 13 times (95% CI 11.1–15.2) the age- and sex-standardized rate of the general population in Taiwan. The average annual crude mortality rate was 13.1% (person-years). Factors significantly associated with increased mortality were male sex, advanced age, rural residence, lower economic status, no tracheotomy, and no riluzole treatment. Significant predictors of long-term versus average survival were younger age at diagnosis, being a dependent or receiving social welfare, and NIPPV support. Significant predictors of short-term versus average survival were older age, being employed, no tracheotomy, and no riluzole use. Conclusions The results support the use of riluzole to improve ALS survival. Patients who received riluzole and underwent tracheotomy had the best survival.
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