Carolinas Rehabilitation is proud to be one of only 30 Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centers in the United States approved to offer a diaphragm pacing system for ventilator-dependent spinal cord injury patients.
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates that 3,700 individuals were living with high C1-C3 tetraplegia in 2006, with an additional 500 new cases per year. Many of these patients are dependent on a ventilator for respiratory support. Through Carolinas Rehabilitation and the diaphragm pacing system, many of these patients could benefit from this new program.
Our diaphragm pacing system is designed to decrease the patient's reliance on a ventilator, increase day-to-day independence and maximize the patient's freedom. Unlike a mechanical ventilator, the diaphragm pacing system provides a gentle electronic stimulation to the diaphragm, causing it to contract. The system stimulates the diaphragm to imitate more natural breathing. Of patients using the diaphragm pacing system, clinical trials showed that 95 percent of patients were able to breathe for at least four hours a day without the use of their mechanical ventilator.
In most cases, an overnight hospital stay is all that is needed to implant the device's four electrodes, two to each side of the patient's diaphragm. The electrodes are connected to an external stimulator that provides electrical stimulation to the diaphragm. A Carolinas Rehabilitation physician will oversee the implant process and its follow-up in conjunction with a pulmonologist at Carolinas Medical Center.
Candidates for the diaphragm pacing system are individuals over the age of 18 who have sustained a spinal cord injury requiring the use of a mechanical ventilator in order to breathe.
For more information on the diaphragm pacing system or to determine if you or your patient could benefit from this procedure, call 704-355-3558 or 1-877-REHAB51 (1-877-734-2251).