Phrenic Nerve Stimulation
Electrical activation of the phrenic nerves restores “almost natural breathing” in patients who would otherwise be dependent on a mechanical ventilator.
Phrenic nerves are stimulated with electrical impulses, resulting in diaphragm contraction and inhalation of air.
Respiratory failure is usually caused by either
- malfunction of the respiratory center in the brain stem, or
- loss of the connection between the respiratory center and the nerve cells of the phrenic nerve in the cervical spinal cord.
A special technique, sequential multipole stimulation, for activation of the phrenic nerves was developed in Tampere, Finland during the eighties. The commercial version has been available since 1990. Atrostim PNS allows long-term full-time stimulation after a short conditioning period of the muscle.
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