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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. When the nerve cells die, the brain loses its ability to simulate and control muscle movement. Commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS affects more than 5,000 new patients in the U.S. every year.

Our expert neurologists are dedicated to managing symptoms and controlling disease progression for patients fighting ALS in Kansas City and the surrounding area. Promoting a commitment to evidence-based, interdisciplinary care and services with an emphasis on hope and quality of life, our program has earned recognition from the ALS Association as a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence – the only one of its kind in Kansas.

About ALS

ALS is progressive. It begins with a few barely perceptible symptoms and ends when patients lose the ability to breathe. The disease typically strikes people between ages 40-70 and does not discriminate by gender or race. Life expectancy varies from person to person, but typically ranges from 2-5 years following diagnosis.

  • Common symptoms of ALS include:

    • Muscle weakness in the hands, arms or legs
    • Weakness in the muscles that control speaking, swallowing and breathing
    • Muscle twitching and cramping, particularly in the hands and feet
    • Thick speech and difficulty with voice projection
    • Shortness of breath and difficulty with breathing and swallowing
  • There is no single test to confirm ALS, so doctors will use several tools and procedures to accurately determine your diagnosis. These include:

    • Full neurological examination
    • Electromyography, which records the electrical activity of the muscles
    • Nerve conduction studies
    • Magnetic resonance imaging
    • Muscle or nerve biopsy

    While there is no cure for ALS, an important goal is to maintain muscle function for as long as possible. Medications and physical therapy can slow the disease's progression, helping you live longer and enjoy a better quality of life. That's our focus in our partnership with you and your family.

Doctor interacting with ALS patient using telehealth.

ALS treatment in Wichita

To reach our goal of helping as many people as possible, as conveniently as possible, we created a telehealth initiative that lets our Wichita-based patients battling ALS interact with and receive treatment from our neuromuscular experts. This provides them with access to leading expertise while avoiding the challenge of travel with reduced mobility.

Why choose us

  • Our fellowship-trained neurologists have more training in the diagnosis and treatment of people with ALS than those at any other hospital in the region.
  • We are the only program in Kansas to earn recognition from the ALS Association as a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence.
  • Our doctors lead and participate in research that one day could result in a cure for the disease.
  • We are committed to extending advanced care to as many patients as possible, as conveniently as possible.
Happy diverse group of people

Turning Point

Turning Point offers free classes, programs and tools designed to empower and educate people affected by chronic or serious illness.

Learn more about our services

What to expect

Seeking ALS treatment at our health system provides the opportunity to work with an interdisciplinary care team dedicated to supporting your complete needs with respect to ALS.

You will partner with physicians specially trained to treat ALS. You will benefit from the expertise of experienced professionals including neurologists, psychologists, dietitians, and physical and occupational therapists. This group will together develop a personalized care plan for effectively living with ALS. We offer clinics for patients and families every Monday morning.

Doctors and nurses collaborating

Leading research and clinical trials

We collaborate closely with the University of Kansas Medical Center to realize the power of academic medicine. Here at the health system, we deliver advanced patient care. The researchers at the medical center conduct industry-leading clinical trials and explore leading-edge innovation.
Our Research

Our experts

Learn more about our leaders in ALS treatment and research.