Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

DRG Category: 012

Mean LOS: 6.3 days

Description: MEDICAL: Degenerative Nervous

System Disorders

^Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common progressive motor neuron disease of muscular atrophy. There are 20,000 Americans living with the disease, and each year in the United States, there are 5000 new cases. ALS is often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease after the baseball

70 Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis player who died from it. ALS is characterized by a progressive loss of motor neurons (in both the cerebral cortex and the spinal cord). The muscular atrophy is designated by the term "amyotrophy." As motor neurons are destroyed in the cerebral cortex, the long axons and the myelin sheaths that make up the corticospinal nerve tracts disappear. The loss of fibers in the nerve tracts and development of a firmness in the tissues leads to the designation of "lateral sclerosis." One important feature of the disease is the selective nature of neuronal cell death. The sensory networks and the portions of the brain needed for control and regulation of movement, intellect, and thinking are not affected. The most common complications of ALS are respiratory. Death often occurs 3 to 5 years after the onset of the disease because of pneumonia, respiratory failure, or aspiration, although some patients live as long as 10 or 15 years with a more benign form of the disease.

0 0

Post a comment