CMD, LGMD: Trial of Breathing Treatment Now Open

A research study of the use of the CoughAssist machine is open to children and teens with Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy or Bethlem myopathy

Difficulty moving air in and out of the lungs and clearing respiratory secretions can occur when respiratory muscles are weak.
Article Highlights:
  • A new study will investigate whether or not daily treatments with the CoughAssist machine can help children and teenagers with Ullrich congenital MD or Bethlem myopathy, a form of MD caused by genetic mutations affecting the collagen 6 protein.
  • Weakened respiratory muscles can occur in several forms of muscular dystrophy, causing difficulty with moving air in and out of the lungs and moving secretions out the airways.
  • The CoughAssist, a device made by Philips Respironics, has been successfully used by people with breathing muscle weakness to help clear respiratory secretions.
by Margaret Wahl on February 14, 2014 - 11:59am

Children and adolescents with Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy or Bethlem myopathy are invited to participate in a study of a daily breathing treatment regimen using a brand-name device called a CoughAssist.

MDA classifies Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy as a type of congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD) and Bethlem myopathy as a type of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD). Both are caused by genetic mutations that affect collagen 6, a protein that's normally present in the tissue surrounding muscle fibers.

Mutations in the same genes have been known to cause either CMD, with muscle weakness beginning at or near birth, or LGMD, with muscle weakness beginning later in life.

About the CoughAssist study

This is a randomized research study in which participants will be assigned into one of two groups by a computer, not by choice. Half the study participants will use a CoughAssist device with settings determined by specific testing at the research visits. Instructions will be to do breathing exercises twice a day. The other half of study participants will continue their usual respiratory treatments.

The CoughAssist machine, made by Philips Respironics, is designed to facilitate clearing respiratory tract secretions. It works by first applying positive pressure to the airway, and then rapidly shifting to negative pressure to enhance the individuals cough effort.

The study lasts one year and involves four clinic visits to either Cincinnati Children's Hospital or Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. It also includes six phone interview visits.

The trial is supported by the Cure CMD Foundation, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Prospective participants in the CoughAssist trial must:

  • have a confirmed muscle disease (myopathy) related to the collagen 6 (collagen VI) protein;
  • be 5-20 years old;
  • be willing and able to travel to either Cincinnati or Philadelphia four times for visits lasting approximately six hours each; and
  • be able to perform a pulmonary function test (PFT).

To participate

For details, contact Katie Fields, clinical research coordinator at Cincinnati Children's, at (513) 636-0736 or; or Anne Rutkowski, director of the Congenital Muscle Disease International Registry, in Los Angeles at (424) 210-7749 or

To learn more, also see Clinical Trial for Collagen VI-Related Myopathy.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (4 votes)
MDA cannot respond to questions asked in the comments field. For help with questions, contact your local MDA office or clinic or email See comment policy