The International Standard of Care Committee for SMA was formed in 2005 with the goal of establishing guidelines for clinical care.

In 2007, they published the Consensus Statement for Standard of Care in Spinal Muscular Atrophy, addressing common medical problems, diagnostic strategy, recommendations for assessment and monitoring, and therapeutic intervention in each care area. An updated standard of care document reflecting advances in the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy is currently in development.

The current guidelines recommend that a wide-ranging team of medical experts be assembled as soon as possible. A care plan should include referrals to the medical experts who will direct care for the individual with SMA. Often the first referral will be to a neuromuscular clinic.

The level of care may range from comprehensive to palliative


Refers to procedures that address both acute problems and the day-to-day management of the individual’s medical needs, including but not limited to:

  • Airway clearance, cough, and secretion management
  • Ventilator support (invasive or noninvasive)
  • Nutrition and hydration


Focuses on prevention and relief of suffering to support the best possible quality of life. This may include:

  • Managing discomfort and preventing unnecessary interventions
  • Potentially life-sustaining measures with regard to the individual and his or her family
  • Psychosocial and spiritual support to the individual and/or his or her family
Spinal Muscular Atrophy Palliative Care

The purpose of palliative care is to improve the quality of life for individuals with life-threatening illnesses, though this does not mean that they are near death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), palliative care in children is best accomplished by a multidisciplinary team that includes the family.

SMA centers

Neuromuscular disease centers specializing in SMA can provide proactive and coordinated care, including:

Spinal Muscular Atrophy Treatment Appointment

Centralized appointments that enable individuals with SMA to see all necessary specialists in a single visit

Spinal Muscular Atrophy Treatment Travel

Assistance for those who need to travel significant distances (parking, meals, lodging, etc)

SMA Symptoms

Collaboration and sharing of information among physicians that allows more strategic, coordinated care planning

Spinal Muscular Atrophy Treatment Centers

Locations of treatment centers can vary. While some people may be fortunate to live near one, those who don’t may choose to receive regular care at a medical center that is closer to home, or build their own care team with specialists in their community.