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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Nusinersen has shown significant functional motor benefit in the milder types of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Less is known on the respiratory outcomes in patients with nusinersen-treated SMA. The aim of this study was to describe changes in respiratory function in pediatric patients with SMA type 2 and 3 on regular treatment with nusinersen within the iSMAc international cohort and to compare their trajectory with the natural history (NH) data published by the consortium in 2020. METHODS: This is a 5-year retrospective observational study of pediatric SMA type 2 and nonambulant type 3 (age ≤18 years) treated with nusinersen. The primary objective was to compare the slopes of decline in forced vital capacity % predicted (FVC% pred.), FVC, and age when FVC dropped below 60% between the treated patients and a control group from the natural history cohort. Data on peak cough flow and the use of noninvasive ventilation (NIV) and cough assist were collected. RESULTS: Data were available for 69 treated patients, 53 were SMA type 2 and 16 type 3. The mean (SD) age at first injection was 8.5 (3.2) and 9.7 (3.7) years, respectively. The median (interquartile range) treatment duration was 1 (0.7; 1.9) and 1.2 (0.9; 1.9) years, respectively. At the time of the first nusinersen injection, 24 of 52 (46%) patients with SMA type 2 and 2 of 16 (13%) patients with SMA type 3 were on NIV. Forty-three of 53 (81%) and 4 of 16 (25%) patients used cough device. FVC% pred. in treated patients with SMA type 2 declined annually by 2.3% vs 3.9% in NH (p = 0.08) and in treated patients with type 3 by 2.6% vs 3.4% NH (p = 0.59). Patients treated reached FVC <60% later than untreated (12.1 vs 10 years, p = 0.05). A higher percentage of treated vs untreated patients maintained FVC% pred. equal/above their baseline after 12 (65% vs 36%) and 24 (50% vs 24%) months, respectively. NIV use among treated did not significantly change throughout 1-year follow-up. DISCUSSION: This study included the largest real-world cohort of pediatric patients with milder SMA types. The results suggest a positive role of nusinersen in delaying the respiratory decline in patients treated longer than 1 year when compared with natural history. Larger cohorts and longer observation are planned. CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE: This study provided Class III evidence that nusinersen slows progression for patients with SMA types 2 and 3 compared with a natural history cohort.

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Journal article


Neurol Clin Pract

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