Hong Kong Med J 2009;15:230-3 | Number 3, June 2009
Implantation of a breathing pacemaker in a tetraplegic patient in Hong Kong
Jamie CM Lam, Carmen TK Ho, TL Poon, HY Kwok, Ripley K Wong, SW Chiu, Mary SM Ip
University Department of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
A 38-year-old man had been tetraplegic and ventilator-dependent after sustaining a traumatic cervical spine fracture at the C1/C2 level in 1991, at the age of 22 years. He had been bedbound and mechanically ventilated since then. A multidisciplinary management team approached him in 2003 and helped him to become ambulatory and independent in his daily activities of living. We successfully implanted the diaphragm pacing stimulation system in this patient in 2004. Diaphragm pacing by phrenic nerve stimulation is well accepted in western countries, and has been in clinical application for children and adults for decades. Its use facilitates ambulation and improves the quality of life of tetraplegic individuals with chronic ventilatory failure.
Key words: Electric stimulation therapy; Quadriplegia; Quality of life; Spinal cord injuries
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