What is ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. It is characterized by progressive muscle weakness that results in paralysis. For more information, visit the ALS Association website.

How ALS affects breathing

With ALS, the nerves’ ability to signal muscles decreases over time. The diaphragm weakens as the breathing (or phrenic) nerves lose their ability to carry messages from the brain to the diaphragm. As the diaphragm weakens, ALS patients develop chronic hypoventilation, a state in which a reduced amount of air enters the lungs. When the phrenic nerves have degenerated, the ALS patient becomes dependent on positive pressure ventilation.

How a diaphragm pacing system can provide respiratory assistance for ALS

The Avery Diaphragm Pacing System System is a surgically implanted phrenic nerve stimulator which delivers electrical impulses to the diaphragm and restores breathing function. It may help ALS patients attain a higher quality of life by delaying the need for dependence on mechanical ventilation. In addition, a diaphragm pacing system conditions diaphragm muscles, increasing fatigue resistance during normal exertion. Moreover, a diaphragm pacing system improves sleep conditions for ALS patients.

How is the Avery Diaphragm Pacing System implanted?

Breathing pacemakers can be implanted using minimally invasive surgery. The surgeon is not required to undergo specialized training, nor is the hospital required to purchase any capital equipment or specialized instrumentation. Breathing pacemakers use implanted receivers to receive signals across the patient’s intact skin. Other systems use percutaneous wires that pass through the skin and present a chronic infection risk as well as ongoing wound management issues. The Avery Diaphragm Pacing System can be implanted under local or monitored anesthetic, which clinical evidence suggests is extremely important for those suffering from ALS.

More benefits to consider:

  • Breathing pacemakers cost far less than the fixed costs and disposable supplies associated with positive pressure ventilation.
  • Breathing pacemakers are approved for reimbursement under Medicare. And most government and private insurers follow those guidelines.
  • Breathing pacemakers are the only device of their kind with full premarket approval from the US FDA and CE marketing privileges under the European Active Implantable Medical Device Directive.

Learn more about the Avery Diaphragm Pacing System System and respiratory assistance for ALS patients.

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