Carolinas HealthCare System

Carolinas Rehabilitation is proud to be one of only 30 spinal cord injury treatment centers in the United States and the only trauma center in North Carolina to offer a diaphragm pacing system for ventilator-dependent spinal cord injury patients.

A diaphragm pacing system is used to:

  • Decrease the patient's reliance on a ventilator
  • Increase day-to-day independence
  • Maximize the patient's freedom

Unlike a mechanical ventilator, a diaphragm pacing system provides a gentle electronic stimulation to the diaphragm, causing it to contract. The system stimulates the diaphragm to imitate natural breathing. In a recent clinical trial, the manufacturer of Carolinas Rehabilitation’s diaphragm pacing system reported 25 patients (50 percent) achieved full-time diaphragm pacing and eliminated the use of a ventilator.

How Diaphragm Pacing Works

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.

Candidates for Diaphragm Pacing

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

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 877-REHAB51 (877-734-2251).