Management of Common Neuromuscular Disorders, 3rd Edition

About the Course:
Owing to the complexity of the physiologic processes involved in the interactions of the nervous and muscular systems, neuromuscular disorders can present a vast array of debilitating pathophysiologic changes across all body systems. However, of primary concern for the respiratory therapist is the profound impact of these pathophysiologic changes on the nerves and muscles that regulate the mechanics of breathing. Most often, individuals who suffer from neuromuscular disorders lose the ability to maintain adequate alveolar ventilation. Although healthcare literature surrounding neuromuscular disorders is robust, a gap remains within the respiratory care profession as a whole, resulting in a misunderstanding about variations in the impact of neuromuscular diseases on ventilatory status and effective monitoring of patients for impending ventilatory failure. The purpose of this intermediate-level review course is to provide respiratory therapists with an overview of the definition, etiology, pathophysiology, and management of common neuromuscular disorders.

Learning Objectives: 
  • Explain the function of the neuromuscular junction as well as of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh).
  • Describe the characteristics and signs and symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), along with a typical treatment plan.
  • Describe the characteristics and signs and symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome, along with a typical treatment plan.
  • Describe the characteristics and signs and symptoms of myasthenia gravis, along with a typical treatment plan.
  • List and describe other neuromuscular disorders.

About the Authors: 
Tammy A. Miller MEd, RRT, CPFT, is the program chair of the respiratory care program at Southern Regional Technical College, where she has been teaching for 26 years. Ms. Miller teaches all degree-level courses in the respiratory care curriculum, as well as the technical diploma-level anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and introduction-to-healthcare courses. She also teaches degree-level psychology courses on an as-needed basis. Ms. Miller has been a respiratory therapist since 1984 and continues serving in clinical practice on the weekend supplemental staff pool in the regional healthcare system. She holds a diploma in respiratory therapy, a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, and a Master of Education degree in technical and adult education. She recently completed the course work for a doctoral degree in industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology and is currently in the final stage of her dissertation proposal. Ms. Miller is credentialed by the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) as a registered respiratory therapist (RRT) and certified pulmonary function technologist (CPFT). She is certified as an instructor by the American Heart Association in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Basic Life Support (BLS). She is also certified in Neonatal Resuscitation (NRP) by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Ms. Miller was named instructor of the year at Southern Regional Technical College in 1994 and in 2012. She served as a commissioner and site visitor on the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).

Kenneth Miller MEd, RRT-NPS, ACCS, AC-E, has worked in respiratory care for the past 45 years. He has been responsible for the clinical management of patients receiving non-invasive and invasive ventilation. He has worked as a staff ICU respiratory therapist, clinical coordinator and the past 25 years as the clinical educator and research coordinator of respiratory care services.  Ken has lectured at the local, regional and national levels and has authored a number of peer journal and textbook articles. Ken was recently awarded fellowship status in the American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC).

How to Receive Credit
  • Read the entire course online or in print.
  • Answer the final examination questions at the end of the course. A passing grade of 75% is required. Test questions link content to learning objectives as a method to enhance individualized learning and material retention.
  • Provide required personal information and payment information.
  • Complete the mandatory course evaluation.
  • Print your Certificate of Completion.

Resolution of Conflict of Interest
Colibri Healthcare, LLC implemented mechanisms prior to the planning and implementation of the continuing education activity, to identify and resolve conflicts of interest for all individuals in a position to control content of the course activity.

Sponsorship/Commercial Support and Non-Endorsement
It is the policy of Colibri not to accept commercial support. Furthermore, commercial interests are prohibited from distributing or providing access to this activity to learners.

The information provided in this activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a healthcare provider relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition.
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