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The Hunger Project Bolen Report
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Diaphragm Pacing Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy Diaphragm pacing is a procedure to help patients with spinal cord injuries to breathe. Their breathing is helped by setting the respiratory rate by electrical stimulation (pacing) of the phrenic nerve, the nerve which supplies the diaphragm with the signal to contract. Pacing is accomplished via electrodes surgically implanted into the diaphragm, which is innervated by the phrenic nerve. This procedure is currently experimental. It is being tested in patients with injuries that cut across (transect) the cervical spinal cord high in the neck and result in paralysis of all four limbs (tetraplegia or quadriplegia) and respiratory failure requiring chronic mechanical ventilatory support. For the procedure to work, the function of the phrenic nerve must be normal. Diaphragm pacing originally required surgery opening the chest cavity (thoracotomy) to implant the electrodes but is now done by laparoscopy through small openings in the chest.



The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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