Diaphragmatic pacemaker

Diaphragmatic pacemaker

A diaphragmatic pacemaker, in medicine, is a surgically-implanted device used to help patients breathe following complications from spinal cord injuries. The device works through pacing of the diaphragm.


In patients with a diaphragmatic pacemaker, their breathing is helped by setting the respiratory rate by electrical stimulation (pacing) of the phrenic nerve. The pacing is accomplished via electrodes surgically implanted into the diaphragm, which is controlled by the phrenic nerve.

Diaphragm pacing stimulates a normal breath response as follows: when an electrical current is passed through the electrodes, the diaphragm contracts, expanding the chest cavity, causing air to be sucked into the lungs (inspiration). When the nerve is not stimulated, the diaphragm relaxes and air moves out of the lungs (expiration).


This procedure was approved in Europe under CE mark and the US in 2008. 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) and respiratory failure which require constant mechanical ventilatory support. For the procedure to work, the function of the phrenic nerve must be normal.

Diaphragm pacing originally required a surgical opening of the chest cavity (thoracotomy) to implant the electrodes. It is now done by laparoscopy through small openings in the abdominal cavity. Patients undergo laparoscopic implantation of electrodes in the muscle of the diaphragm and initial electrical stimulation. Following a recovery period of a week or so, diaphragm pacing is initiated. Wires from the electrodes in the diaphragm run to and from a control box worn outside the body. The pacing is performed according to a reconditioning program in which the duration and frequency of electrode stimulation is gradually increased until full-time diaphragm pacing is achieved.

The actor Christopher Reeve, who was paralyzed and on a respirator after fracturing his neck in a horseback riding accident, underwent the procedure in 2003.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно решить контрольную?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • diaphragmatic pacemaker — electrophrenic p …   Medical dictionary

  • Pacemaker (disambiguation) — Pacemaker may refer to:In biology and medicine: * Cardiac pacemaker, a group of cells within the heart that together initiate contractions and set the pace of beating * Artificial pacemaker, a device implanted to provide proper heart rhythm when… …   Wikipedia

  • Diaphragmatic surface of heart — Base and diaphragmatic surface of heart. Latin facies diaphragmatica cordis Gray s …   Wikipedia

  • Pacemaker — A system that sends electrical impulses to the heart in order to set the heart rhythm. The pacemaker can be the normal natural pacemaker of the heart or it can be an electronic device. The natural pacemaker of the heart is the sinus node, one of… …   Medical dictionary

  • electrophrenic pacemaker — the device used in electrophrenic respiration; it converts radiofrequency signals into electrical impulses that stimulate the phrenic nerve, resulting in descent and flattening of the diaphragm and improved inhalation of air. Called also… …   Medical dictionary

  • Diaphragm pacing — Contents 1 Introduction 2 Indications for Use 3 Surgery 4 Availability Introduction Diaphragm Pacing, also known as …   Wikipedia

  • Phrenic Nerve Pacing — (PNP) or diaphragm pacing, is the rhythmic application of electrical impulses to the diaphragm, resulting in respiration for patients who would otherwise be dependent on a mechanical ventilator.This concept was originally referred to as… …   Wikipedia

  • List of biomedical engineering topics — This page aims to list all topics related to the specific discipline of biomedical engineering.compactTOC NOTOC AArtificial heart mdash; Artificial heart valve mdash; Artificial limb mdash; Artificial pacemaker mdash; Automated external… …   Wikipedia

  • Yale-New Haven Hospital — Hospital Name = Yale New Haven Hospital Logo = Org/Group = Yale New Haven Health System Caption = Location = New Haven State = Connecticut Country = US HealthCare = Beds = 944 including 201 for Yale New Haven Children s Hospital and 76 for Yale… …   Wikipedia

  • Myocardial rupture — Classification and external resources ICD 10 I23.3 I23.5, S26.8 eMedicine …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”