ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease of the spinal cord and brain. The degeneration of muscle movement caused by the disease inhibits the brain’s ability to control muscle movement within the body. These muscles typically weaken over time, atrophy, and ultimately cease function. When muscles assisting in breathing weaken, medical devices such as mechanical ventilators and diaphragm pacemakers are often used to aid in breathing.
How Diaphragm Pacing Assists Breathing in ALS Patients
Because ALS is a progressive degenerative disease (as opposed to other conditions affecting breathing such as quadriplegia which most often have a full, sudden impact), many patients are able to plan for future care. Deciding on a method of breathing assistance early on can help ensure that all options are considered and the best choice is made for future care.
Many ALS patients are able to live years beyond respiratory failure through the aid of breathing assistance. Though ALS patients will ultimately need mechanical ventilation, there are options earlier on in the course of the disease. For ALS patients, pacing exercises the diaphragms, which may delay the need for dependence on mechanical ventilation. Patients should consider factors such as long term cost for care and quality of life when determining breathing assistance. The Avery Diaphragm Pacing System is a cost effective solution that typically provides an increased quality of life for patients.
Special Considerations for ALS Patients
Due to the nature of ALS, there are special considerations to keep in mind. Though breathing assistance for ALS patients is possible through the Avery Diaphragm Pacing System, there are situations for which the Avery Diaphragm Pacing System may not be used for ALS patients.
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The Avery Diaphragm Pacing System System
The Avery Diaphragm Pacing System System is the only diaphragm-pacing system with full pre-market approval from the USFDA and CE marking privileges under the European Active Implantable Medical Device Directive for both adult and pediatric use. In addition, its system of 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.