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1.  Protocol for diaphragm pacing in patients with respiratory muscle weakness due to motor neurone disease (DiPALS): a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:74.
Background
Motor neurone disease (MND) is a devastating illness which leads to muscle weakness and death, usually within 2-3 years of symptom onset. Respiratory insufficiency is a common cause of morbidity, particularly in later stages of MND and respiratory complications are the leading cause of mortality in MND patients. Non Invasive Ventilation (NIV) is the current standard therapy to manage respiratory insufficiency. Some MND patients however do not tolerate NIV due to a number of issues including mask interface problems and claustrophobia. In those that do tolerate NIV, eventually respiratory muscle weakness will progress to a point at which intermittent/overnight NIV is ineffective. The NeuRx RA/4 Diaphragm Pacing System was originally developed for patients with respiratory insufficiency and diaphragm paralysis secondary to stable high spinal cord injuries. The DiPALS study will assess the effect of diaphragm pacing (DP) when used to treat patients with MND and respiratory insufficiency.
Method/Design
108 patients will be recruited to the study at 5 sites in the UK. Patients will be randomised to either receive NIV (current standard care) or receive DP in addition to NIV. Study participants will be required to complete outcome measures at 5 follow up time points (2, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months) plus an additional surgery and 1 week post operative visit for those in the DP group. 12 patients (and their carers) from the DP group will also be asked to complete 2 qualitative interviews.
Discussion
The primary objective of this trial will be to evaluate the effect of Diaphragm Pacing (DP) on survival over the study duration in patients with MND with respiratory muscle weakness. The project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme (project number 09/55/33) and the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Henry Smith Charity. Trial Registration: Current controlled trials ISRCTN53817913. The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the HTA programme, NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-74
PMCID: PMC3462709  PMID: 22897892
2.  Boerhaave syndrome: a diagnostic conundrum 
BMJ Case Reports  2009;2009:bcr07.2008.0375.
A 79-year-old man presented to the Emergency Department with abdominal pain 1 day after an elective total knee replacement. The patient was confused and drowsy, with a high fever, hypotension and uncontrolled atrial fibrillation. He subsequently developed respiratory failure, requiring admission to intensive care. It was then noted that a large pleural effusion had developed between two chest radiographs performed only 4 h apart. A pigtail catheter inserted into the pleural space revealed a transudate of pH 7.0 with an amylase of 17 220 U (serum amylase 54 U), and thus a diagnosis of spontaneous oesophageal rupture or Boerhaave syndrome was made. Despite drainage of the pleural space, the patient developed shock and multiorgan failure requiring mechanical ventilation, renal replacement therapy and cardiovascular support. The oesophageal leak was treated conservatively with intercostal tube drainage; the patient made a full recovery and was discharged from hospital 75 days later.
doi:10.1136/bcr.07.2008.0375
PMCID: PMC3027424  PMID: 21686835

Results 1-2 (2)