Respiratory System - DM1


  • Significant breathing problems that can result from muscle weakness of the diaphragm, abdominal and intercostal muscles and myotonia of these muscles.

  • Low blood oxygen and elevated blood carbon dioxide levels.

  • Chronic respiratory impairment is the primary cause of mortality and morbidity in DM1.


  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).

  • Insufficient air flow during sleep.

  • Weakness of the breathing and swallowing muscles.

  • Aspiration of food and drink, saliva, nasal secretions and stomach fluids.

  • General anesthesia and pain medications, especially opiates, often cause respiratory failure.

  • Ineffective cough.

  • Recurrent chest infections.

  • Morning headaches, apnea, snoring.


  • Discuss the following tests with your doctor.

  • Forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume.

  • Respiratory muscle strength evaluation.

  • Sleep study.

  • Clearance capacity.


  • Careful perioperative management.

  • Vaccinations for influenza and pneumonia if no contraindications.

  • Respiratory cough assistance and mechanical ventilation (as needed).

  • Consultations from respiratory therapy and pulmonary medicine groups as needed.

  • Airway clearance and lung volume recruitment techniques (e.g., breath stacking, abdominal thrust, the vest and the mechanical insufflator/exsufflator).

  • Noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation (NIV) for respiratory insufficiency.

  • Emergency medical alert devices.

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