Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disease where, over time, the muscles become weakened. In cases of SMA type 1 and SMA type 2, weakened chest muscles affect the child’s ability to breathe, so you will need to have some items of respiratory equipment in your home so that you can treat your child on a daily basis.
The type of respiratory equipment needed will depend on the patient and the severity of their SMA. It should be discussed with your health care team; however, according to Families of SMA, it’s likely that the following pieces of equipment will be required:
Cough assist machine: This device helps to remove excess mucus from the lungs, and aids breathing
Method for mucus mobilization (or airway secretion): This can be done manually or with an electronic device such as an oscillating vest or an interpulmonary percussive ventilation (IPV) machine.
Method for postural drainage: Positioning the child so that their head and chest is lower than their upper legs and buttocks allows mucus to drain from the lower airways to the upper airways for easier removal. This can be done with pillows, cushions or wedges.