The aim of the study was to analyze Pulmonary Function and to identify reliable prognostic factors associated with Respiratory abnormalities in a consecutive series of patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Pulmonary Function was evaluated by means of a battery of measures, including Maximal Voluntary Ventilation, Forced Vital Capacity, Forced Expiratory Volume, in 71 consecutive patients with Primary and Secondary/Progressive MS.
Respiratory impairment was common in MS patients, occurring in 63.4% of all patients, ranging from 82.9% in non-ambulatory patients (with EDSS score >6.5) to 35.7% in ambulatory patients (with EDSS score <6).
Severity of illness and Cerebellar and Mental Impairment were significantly negatively associated with Basal Pulmonary Function.
Coordination plays an important role in determining Respiratory abnormalities: Respiratory abnormalities were found in 27 out of 32 patients (84.4%) with severe Cerebellar impairment.
The presence of severe Cerebellar Signs was associated with a very high risk of occurrence of Respiratory impairment (O.R. = 6.24; 95% C.I. 1.71-22.82).
Other significant variables were severity of illness (EDSS score > 6.5) (O.R. =4.71; 95% C.I. 1.42-15.66) and long disease duration (> 15 years) (O.R. = 3.39; 95% C.I. 1.01-11.42).