For patients with high cervical spinal cord injuries (SCI) who have difficulty breathing on their own, there are new options to improve quality of life through the implantation of a Diaphragmatic Pacing device. Mayo Clinic is one of a handful of providers in the U.S. offering this new pacing device to patients with high cervical SCI who currently require ventilator support.
Using a laparoscopic approach for a minimally invasive procedure, surgeons (using direct visualization) place electrodes on the diaphragm in a location that elicits the optimal contraction. These electrodes are then connected, through wires running through the skin, to an external device about the size of a TV remote control, and electrical stimulation induces diaphragm contraction and inhalation of air to fill the lungs.
Learn more about implantable diaphragmatic pacing devices at Mayo Clinic.