Having type 1 disease and more severe apnea are risk factors for recurrent respiratory tract infections and acute respiratory failure in children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), according to a new study published in the journal Pediatric Pulmonology. A higher body mass index (BMI) and mean pulse oxygen saturation, on the other hand, are protective.

The disease type, BMI, apnea hypopnea index, and mean pulse oxygen saturation should, therefore, be used to estimate the risk of recurrent respiratory tract infections and acute respiratory failure in children with SMA, reported Wenhui Guo, of the Affiliated Children’s Hospital in Beijing, China, and colleagues.

The researchers set out to identify the risk factors and predictive indices for respiratory tract infections and acute respiratory failure in children with SMA so specific standards for sleep-disordered breathing and malnutrition can be clarified. In doing so, they conducted a retrospective study in which they compared the differences in clinical characteristics between patients with SMA with and without recurrent respiratory tract infections and acute respiratory failure.


Continue Reading

Read more about SMA classification

They found a mean pulse oxygen saturation of less than 96%, an apnea hypopnea index of more than 10 events per hour, and a BMI z-score of less than -1 could predict the occurrence of respiratory tract infections and acute respiratory failure in the next year with a sensitivity of 0.513 and a specificity of 0.957.

These scores “should be used as the intervention standard,” the study authors concluded.

SMA is a rare disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness and loss of movement. The disease is classified into different types based on severity and age of symptom onset. 

SMA type 1 is the most common form of the disease with symptoms usually appearing within 6 months of birth. The disease can affect respiratory function to different degrees.

Reference 

Guo W, Meng L, Cao L. Risk factors for recurrent respiratory tract infections and acute respiratory failure in children with spinal muscular atrophy. Pediatr Pulmonol. Published online November 11, 2022. doi:10.1002/ppul.26218