At the age of 4, tragedy struck Nicole: a motor vehicle accident left her with a stretched spine as a result of whiplash, rendering her quadriplegic and confining her to a motorized wheelchair.
Despite her disability, Nicole has remained very active. Now a 21 year-old undergraduate at the New York Institute of Technology studying advertising, she wastes no time as she rushes to school, Jonas Brothers concerts, and riding thrill rides at amusement parks.
She credits much of her success to the Avery Diaphragm Pacing System, which allowed her to be free of the burden of her mechanical ventilator; a noisy, bulky machine that required ICU care and made it difficult for her to maneuver. It was a hindrance to her active lifestyle making her feel as though she was short of breath.
Having the Avery Diaphragm Pacing System has improved not only her quality of breathing, but her quality of life as well. “I can concentrate better, I can breathe better,” Nicole states with a smile. “It gives you more freedom, more independence.”
Advantages of the Avery Diaphragm Pacing System
Nicole is not the only success story. Approximately 1,000 spinal cord patients a year may benefit from the Avery Diaphragm Pacing System, the only device of its kind with full FDA premarket approval and CE marking privileges under the European Active Implantable Medical Device Directive for adult and pediatric use.
A system that uses fully implanted electrodes placed next to the phrenic nerve with external antennas, the Avery Diaphragm Pacing System is completely self-contained and does not require complicated configuration. In addition, due to the strategic placement of the Avery electrodes, they are not subject to premature lead wire failure and mechanical stresses that can be a result of repetitive muscle movement.
When compared with a ventilator, patients typically prefer the Avery Diaphragm Pacing System. The Diaphragm Pacing System stimulates the diaphragm via the phrenic nerve and draws air into the lungs (negative pressure), which is more physiologically accurate as well as more comfortable for the patient.
In comparison, mechanical ventilation forces air into the lungs (positive pressure), an unnatural action for the body and may cause physical distress. In addition, patients using mechanical ventilator are at risk for ventilator-associated pneumonia and other upper airway infections.
Significant advantages of the pacer over the mechanical ventilator also include:
- Allowing for normal breathing and speech
- No difficulties eating and drinking
- Increases sense of smell
- Greatly increases mobility
- Operates silently which improves active participation in social and educational activities
Our diaphragm pacing system will also pay for itself in an average of two years, based on savings over the cost of mechanical ventilation, including cost of supplies, reduction in nursing care, and reduction of respiratory infections.