J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 83:370 doi:10.1136/jnnp-2011-300990
  • ALS and FTD Special Edition

Survey of non-invasive ventilation use in ALS in Britain

  1. Michael Swash1,2
  1. 1Department of Neurology, The Royal London Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Michael Swash, Department of Neurology, The Royal London Hospital, London EC2Y 8BL, UK; mswash{at}
  • Received 18 July 2011
  • Accepted 25 July 2011
  • Published Online First 2 September 2011

A group of neurologists and respiratory physicians from Sheffield, Tyneside and Newcastle1 report the results of a postal, questionnaire-based survey on the use of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) in motor neuron disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in Britain, suggesting that it represents ‘an update of current UK practice’ (see page 371). Although this is the intent of the survey, responses were elicited from only 63% of UK neurologists, raising the spectre of sampling error.

There are several additional methodological problems in this survey. There was no check of the validity of the data submitted by those neurologists who replied; that is, none of the data was verified, or ‘cleaned’ to use clinical trial phraseology. We do not know how closely local or national guidelines for NIV were …

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