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Thread: implant for vent users

  1. #1

    implant for vent users

    i'm asking for a friend who is post 1.5 yrs. that implant CR had that allowed him to be off the vent at least for a few hrs., is that experimental? does ins. pay? does it work?

  2. #2
    I would be very interested to hear the same, if anyone has experienced it. What level is your friend?

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  3. #3

    I have asked aother SCI-nurse to comment who has more experience with vents than I do. We''ll await her response.


  4. #4
    Thanks to KLD (SCI Nurse)-here is some information.

    Christopher Reeves had a new (VA developed) diaphragmatic stimulator implanted for breathing about a year before his death. Different from a phrenic nerve stimulator in that it implanted directly on the diaphragm, so can be used even with those with LMN phrenic injuries. I am not sure how generally available it is, but like a phrenic stimulator, the device alone is very expensive, and the surgery even more so, and it takes a long training period for it to be functional.

  5. #5
    For many years we have had a phrenic nerve stimulator (FES for breathing). I first worked with these in 1978.This device implants an electrode directly on the phrenic nerve, which is the main nerve that controls the diaphragm at C3-5. In order for this to work the person must have an intact reflex arc at C3-5, so if the damage includes this area and results in a lower motor neuron injury here, this is not an option. The implant also has had problems with damaging the phrenic nerve if the surgery is not done properly, or on actually causing burn-out of the nerve for some. It usually requires an open-chest surgical procedure.

    The diaphragmatic stimulator that CR received was jointly developed by the Cleveland VA and Case Western Reserve through their FES development program, and CR was one of the first to get it. Instead of implanting on the phrenic nerve, it implants directly on the diaphragm muscle. It is also implanted through the abdomen, which would lead to an easier surgery and shorter recovery time.

    Here are some references:

    As far as I know, this is still experimental, so the costs above are just estimates. The brand name is the NeuRx Diaphragm Pacing Stimulation (DPS) System from Synapse Biomedical:


  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Mrapunzel
    I would be very interested to hear the same, if anyone has experienced it. What level is your friend?
    i believe c2-3.

    ty, sci nurses for your responses. i am passing the info on

  7. #7
    Senior Member taj2002's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Cass and Moe,

    I met a young guy (about 23 years old) vent dependant quad here in Indianapolis. He was approximately 5 or 6 months post injury when I became acquainted with him (and his family). After much hard work on his mother's part, she got him in the program for this implant. He ultimately traveled to Cleveland and had the experimental device implanted. This was over a year ago, and I know the procedure was still experimental then. I believe the costs were paid for by the research funds. This guy did not have insurance, was on Medicaid and couldn't even find a rehab facility in the mid-west that would take him. I am certain that he did not pay for the cost of the procedure. His mother told me the protocol called for patients to be at least 1 year post injury. I believe that she told me her son had the procedure just shy of 1 year or right at the one year point. She was very persistent and pushy and kept going until he got accepted. I know the surgery was successful, but I have not heard from the mom recently so I can't tell you how he is doing currently. The family is from southern Indiana, and I believe that he is back home in his community. I wish I could give you more information. I have the mom's address so maybe I'll write her and see how it's going. If I find out anything I'll post it.


  8. #8
    Thank you very much. I would very much like to know how he is doing.

    btw, I was mistaken. My friend is C1-2.

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