August 2009

New Technology Lets Patients Breathe Without Ventilators


Lincoln, NE

Surgical procedures performed recently at Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center enabled two patients with severe spinal cord injuries who were previously confined to ventilators to breathe on their own. Both patients were implanted with a device that uses electrical impulses to make their diaphragms contract so that breath is taken in and dispelled. Fewer than 80 people in the U.S. have this FDA-approved device implanted. Saint Elizabeth’s patients are a 58-year-old man who became paralyzed from the neck down after a bicycle accident; and a nine-year-old girl who became paralyzed after a skiing accident. She is one of only two pediatric patients in the U.S. to have the implant. For more information, contact Jo Miller, jmiller@stez.org.