Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New device implanted by surgeons help paralyzed patients breathe easier

Date:
November 28, 2009
Source:
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Summary:
Physicians will soon begin implanting a new device designed to improve breathing in patients with upper spinal-cord injuries or other diseases that keep them from breathing independently.

Physicians at UT Southwestern Medical Center soon will begin implanting a new device designed to improve breathing in patients with upper spinal-cord injuries or other diseases that keep them from breathing independently.

UT Southwestern University Hospital -- St. Paul is only one of only two sites in Texas and one of 25 in the country currently equipped to implant the device, called the NeuRx Diaphragm Pacing System.

The device is designed to give patients more freedom and to help slow respiratory decline. Patients who have diseases or injuries that affect breathing muscles, such as the diaphragm, are more prone to lung infections because of their weakened ability to inhale and exhale sufficiently, said Dr. Michael DiMaio, associate professor of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at UT Southwestern.

"Patients who have high-level spinal-cord injuries are unable to breathe efficiently because the nerve signals no longer function," Dr. DiMaio said.

The diaphragm separates the abdomen and chest cavity and contributes to 80 percent of respiration. Nerve signals from the brain tell it when to expand and contract. When it expands, pressure inside the chest is reduced and air rushes into the lungs. When the diaphragm relaxes, the lungs and chest wall push air out.

People with spinal-cord injuries that interfere with breathing are typically placed on external mechanical ventilators that support breathing through positive pressure via a tube placed directly into the airway through the front of the throat.

The implantable device, manufactured by Ohio-based Synapse Biomedical, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2008. The NeuRX system includes four electrodes that are implanted directly into the diaphragm. Electrical signals from an external control device induce impulses from the phrenic nerve, which runs from the spine to the diaphragm. Once those signals reach the electrodes in the diaphragm, the muscle is stimulated to expand and contract. This action more closely simulates normal breathing than external ventilators.

"This device has some advantages over traditional ventilators," Dr. DiMaio said. "Patients have more mobility because they don't have an external ventilator to carry around, and the surgery to implant the device is less invasive than previous treatments."

Researchers said they hope the new device can improve quality of life and decrease incidents of infections that can affect patients who are on external ventilators. Prior generations of phrenic nerve stimulators were inserted by making an incision in the neck and chest. Electrodes were then placed directly on the nerve, rather than the diaphragm.

"Although phrenic nerve stimulation as a way to induce breathing in these patients isn't a new concept, we think the NeuRX will alleviate some symptoms present with previous stimulators," said Dr. Jose Viroslav, professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and pulmonary and critical care specialist. "One of the problems that arose before was scarring and fatigue of the phrenic nerve. This stimulator is placed on the diaphragm, and the pulses are more diffuse."

Dr. Viroslav said another major advantage with the NeuRX device is that it helps with speech.

"Patients on diaphragmatic pacers have more of a normal ventilation, and their vocal cords are not bypassed therefore they can talk," he said. "Breathing with the diaphragm is normal, and if you can do it with implantable electrodes, you are closer to breathing normally with the advantages of speech, less infection, and more mobility."

Patients who are interested in the NeuRX device should first consult with their physician to determine whether they might be eligible.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

UT Southwestern Medical Center. "New device implanted by surgeons help paralyzed patients breathe easier." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091125135128.htm>.
UT Southwestern Medical Center. (2009, November 28). New device implanted by surgeons help paralyzed patients breathe easier. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091125135128.htm
UT Southwestern Medical Center. "New device implanted by surgeons help paralyzed patients breathe easier." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091125135128.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins