Pediatric Quadriplegia


United States

Caroline was just ten months old in February 2003 when she became a C1-C2 quadriplegic as a result of an automobile accident. Like many quadriplegics, Caroline endured repeated hospitalizations for recurrent pneumonia.

Caroline was implanted with her breathing pacemaker in August 2007 by Dr. Robert Cilley at the Hershey Medical Center near her home in Pennsylvania. Her followup care is provided by Dr. Michael Dettorre, Director of Hershey’s Pediatric Home Ventilator Program.

Caroline paces 24 hours per day and only uses her ventilator periodically during allergy season and the occasional cold. Using her breathing pacemaker, Caroline attends school and enjoys a wide range of outdoor activities including going to local fairs, festivals and even professional baseball games. According to her father, Caroline’s breathing pacemaker has “been the single best thing we’ve been able to do for her since the accident.”

Additional information on Caroline can be found on her website, Caroline’s Hope.

pedroPedro Arthur


On January 9, 2012, Pedro became the first pediatric patient implanted with a breathing pacemaker in Brazil.

In 2006, Pedro became quadriplegic following a seizure which was determined to have been caused by undiagnosed bacterial meningitis. For the first time since he became quadriplegic, Pedro has felt his diaphragm contract, allowing him to breathe without a ventilator.

“Pedro had a sequela in the respiratory center. This is very rare, and implantation of the breathing pacemaker would be the only way he gets out of mechanical ventilation and has a better quality of life” explains Dr. Rodrigo Sardenberg, the implanting surgeon.

A recent article on Pedro can be found on the O Estado de São Paulo website.



Nicolas was born June 1993 and became a C1-C4 quadriplegic following a horrific traffic accident when he was just 20 days old. Nicolas was soon transferred to the care of the University of Padua. There, at the age of nine months, he became one of the youngest patients ever implanted with a breathing pacemaker.

Using the excellent mobility and safety afforded him by his breathing pacemaker, Nicolas has been able to travel extensively with his family. They have traveled across Europe including trips to Spain, France and Switzerland as well as many local trips in Italy. Nicolas, now 17 years old, is currently attending school in his hometown of Rimini, Italy.



In 1999, Ryo became quadriplegic following a traffic accident on his motorbike. With virtually no chance for recovery, he spent the next two years in the hospital attached to a mechanical ventilator.

In February 2001, Dr. Isao Morita implanted Ryo with a breathing pacemaker at the Fujita Health University in Toyoake. Four years after his accident, Ryo’s dream return home to live with his family came true.

Ryo is now 27 years old, and uses his breathing pacemaker 24 hours per day. His tracheostomy has been removed, and he regained the ability to eat and speak.

His lifestyle, and that of his family who no longer have to spend time in the hospital, has changed dramatically. He now dreams to travel to the United States and visit the Statue of Liberty.



Abdou was just 15 years old when became quadriplegic in July 2006. After spending months in an intensive care unit, he was implanted with a breathing pacemaker by Dr. Ignacio González, a visiting neurosurgeon from Colombia.

Less than ten months after his accident, Abdou was pacing 24 hours per day. His caregivers report, “He is very comfortable and sure of himself.” They are very happy that they move him in his wheelchair “anywhere he wants.”



United States

In 1996, Keith, an 18-year old diving and gymnastic enthusiast, suffered an accident on a trampoline which rendered him quadriplegic and ventilator dependent.

Preoperative EMGs indicated that his phrenic nerve function was lost, although these tests have a high degree of false negative readings. Direct stimulation performed intraoperatively confirmed the absence of phrenic nerve conduction, and intercostal nerve grafts were performed. Customized stimulus parameters for Keith’s external transmitter were established by our personnel using a computer-assisted optimization technique.

Keith has now been pacing for over ten years, and currently uses his pacers 24 hours per day with tidal volumes in excess of 500 cc’s. “It feels like I’m breathing on my own…just like I used to” he says. Keith is currently studying health and human development and after graduation hopes to work as a counselor.