Prognosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Ju Ruey-Jiuan Lee, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Two cohorts of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients were identified. One incidence-based cohort from Harris County, Texas with 97 cases, and the other a clinic referral series from an ALS clinic in Houston, Texas with 439 cases were followed-up to evaluate the prognosis of ALS. The overall Kaplan-Meier 3-year survival after diagnosis was similar, 0.287 for the incidence cohort and 0.313 for the referral cohort. However, the 5-year survival was much lower for the incidence cohort than the referral cohort (0.037 vs. 0.206). The large difference in 5-year survival was thought to be the results of a stronger unfavorable effect of the prognostic factors in the incidence cohort than in the referral cohort. Cohort-specific Weibull regression models were derived to evaluate the cohort-specific prognostic factors and survival probability with adjustment of certain prognostic factors. The major prognostic factors were: age at diagnosis, bulbar onset, black ethnicity, and positive family history of ALS in both cohorts. Female gender, simultaneous upper and lower extremities onset were specifically unfavorable factors in the incidence cohort. In the incidence cohort the prognosis was relatively favorable for cases with duration from onset to diagnosis longer than 4 months, however in the referral cohort the relatively favorable prognosis only occurred in cases with duration from onset to diagnosis 1 year or longer and was strongest in cases with duration 5 years and longer. Age at diagnosis modified the effect of bulbar onset in the incidence cohort but not in the referral cohort. The estimated survival with presence of an unfavorable prognostic factor identified in the incidence cohort was higher for the referral cohort than for the incidence cohort. Future studies are indicated to investigate the disease heterogeneity issue of ALS based on survival distribution of ALS.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Lee, Ju Ruey-Jiuan, "Prognosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis" (1992). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9401763.