In 2011, Cassandra started having several cases of pneumonia which led to a diagnosis of hypersensitive pneumonitis. Even though the doctors aren’t 100% sure of what Cassandra had, they referred to it as Acquired Central Hyperventilation Syndrome.

Cassandra was sent to Uppsala Sweden because the doctors there are very experienced in treating those with diaphragm paralysis issues. In May 2015, Dr. Pelle Nilsson, MD at Uppsala University Children’s Hospital implanted Cassandra with the Diaphragm Pacemaker.

On how the pacer has changed her life, Cassandra says, “My sleeping quality is very improved and I don´t wake up with a headache every morning. I feel that my diaphragm has become stronger and this makes activities easier, and that my endurance is much higher now than before the pacer.”

Cassandra is a 4th year medical student and when she is not studying or doing research for a class, she likes to hang out with friends and travel to new places.

The Avery Diaphragm Pacemaker is an implanted phrenic nerve or diaphragm stimulator. It consists of surgically implanted electrodes and receivers with an external transmitter and antennas.

It can be implanted either cervically or thoracically using minimally-invasive techniques such as video-assisted (VATS) or thoracoscopic approaches.

The Avery Diaphragm Pacemaker is the only diaphragm pacing system to have full premarket approval (PMA) from the US FDA and CE Marking privileges under the European Active Implantable Medical Device Directive for adult and pediatric use.

In addition, using small implanted radiofrequency receivers rather than electrode wires that pass directly through the skin may decrease the risk of infection and ongoing wound care management issues.

Avery has been commercially distributing Diaphragm Pacemakers since the early 1970’s. Since then, more than 2,000 people have been implanted in over 40 countries establishing an unsurpassed record of safety and reliability. Due to their high reliability and cost effectiveness, the Avery pacers are reimbursed by Medicare and most private and government insurance around the world.

To learn more about the benefits of the Avery pacers for those with a high spinal cord injury, central sleep apnea or diaphragm paralysis, please contact us by mail, phone or through our website.

Central Sleep Apnea

The phrenic nerves originate at C3 through C5 and are the neurological pathways between the brain and each hemidiaphragm. Unlike a spinal cord injury which can damage these pathways, central sleep apnea is a condition in which the brain does not utilize these pathways consistently, if at all. Once a sleep study confirms that the patient's apneic events are of central origin, a diaphragm pacing system should be considered.