Martina was born with hydrocephalus. Eight days later, a VP shunt was placed in her head to drain the l fluid from her brain.
At age of three, she was admitted to the pediatric ICU of the Hospital Clínico Magallanes in Punta Arenas, Chile due to a blockage in the shunt. She suffered a brain stem lesion which prevented her from speaking and breathing on her own. Although she was able to voluntarily breathe a couple of hours a day, she needed ventilatory support from a mechanical ventilator. She remained in the hospital for four years.
In April 2017, at the age of seven, she was implanted with the Avery Breathing Pacemaker. Just two months post-surgery, she was breathing 10 hours a day with the pacemaker. After four years in the hospital, she is scheduled to be discharged in September 2017. At home, she will continue with support services like physiotherapy and speech therapy and is also learning sign language.
The Avery Breathing 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 thoracoscopic approaches (VATS).
The Avery Breathing 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 a patient’s risk of infection and ongoing wound care management issues.
Avery has been commercially distributing breathing pacemakers since the early 1970’s. Since then, more than 2,000 patients have been implanted in over 40 countries establishing an unsurpassed record of safety and reliability. Due to its 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.