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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: What Nurses Need to Know

Bellomo, Tamara L. MSN, RN-BC; Cichminski, Lucille MSN, RN

doi: 10.1097/NHH.0000000000000532

A MOTHER OF THREE teenage children, Mrs. S, 49, presented to her healthcare provider with bilateral leg twitching and weakness, difficulty swallowing, and fatigue that's worsened over the past few weeks. While she was on her daily morning walk, she tripped and fell. She experienced a small laceration to her leg, prompting her visit to the healthcare facility. Her husband said that she'd had periods of slurred speech over the past few months as well. She was alert and oriented, and her vital signs were all within normal limits.

After an exam, her healthcare provider referred her to a neurologist who ordered magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), an electromyogram, and a full bloodwork panel. After multiple visits to rule out other causes, Mrs. S received the devastating diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Tamara L. Bellomo and Lucille Cichminski are associate professors of nursing at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The authors and planners have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

Reprinted from Nursing2015, Vol. 45, No. 10, pp. 46-51.

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