Case Western Reserve Researcher Presents Findings that Could Free Patients from Ventilators – Even Years after Injury
Case Western Reserve researchers have developed a procedure that restores function to muscles involved in the control of breathing – even when they have been paralyzed for more than a year. The breakthrough offers hope that one day patients with severe spinal cord injuries will be able to breathe again without the assistance of a ventilator.
A new study published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery finds that diaphragm pacing (DP) stimulation in spinal cord-injured patients is successful not only in weaning patients from mechanical ventilators but also in bridging patients to independent respiration, where they could breathe on their own without the aid of a ventilator or stimulation.
Healthcare providers tend to think paralyzed people have a very low. Actual spinal cord injury survivors tend to feel differently.
Earlier this month, a 32-year-old husband and father fell 16 feet from a tree while hunting, broke his neck and was left paralyzed from the neck down—making him quadriplegic—and reliant on a ventilator to breathe. According to the Indy Star, while he was still in the intensive care unit, in the early phases of his injury, his family told his health care providers that they didn’t think that he would want to live as a quadriplegic. According to the story, the doctors discontinued his sedation, and he awoke enough to verify that he did not wish to live as a quadriplegic. The doctors discontinued life sustaining measures and he died about five hours later, surrounded by his family and friends.
Jenni Taylor, 24, of Minnetonka, is the reigning Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota. A quadriplegic after a car accident, she speaks to kids with a message of not being afraid of people in wheelchairs.
Jenni Taylor isn’t supposed to be able to sit up without support, but there she is, exquisitely balanced on the edge of her bed.
She isn’t supposed to be able to breathe without her ventilator either, but a slip of her breathing tube once forced her to try contracting her throat muscles just enough to bring in some air until someone heard the alarm.
She isn’t supposed to be a quadriplegic, either. Who is? But accidents happen.
Until the last few decades, it was generally thought that damage to the spinal cord was permanent, as the nerves within our vertebrae stubbornly resist regrowing severed connections after injuries. But a number of studies have helped us understand why exactly it is that the nerves refuse to grow, raising the prospect that we could use this knowledge to intervene and help repair damage to the spine. In the latest indication that progress is being made in these efforts, researchers have used a combination of enzyme treatments and grafts to restore breathing activity in rats that had had their spinal connections completely severed.
A new approach to nerve repair has restored breathing to rats with spinal cord injury.
Scientists believe the same technique could help human patients who have to rely on ventilators, leaving them vulnerable to dangerous infections.
“We’ve shown for the very first time that robust, long distance regeneration can restore function of the respiratory system fully,” said lead researcher Professor Jerry Silver, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, US.
The researchers used a section of peripheral nerve to “bridge” a break in the spinal cord which had paralysed half the diaphragm, the sheet-like muscle that enables breathing.
“Life is not measured by the number breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” This quote has two meanings for me. The first meaning is exactly how it’s stated. The second is a literal and personal meaning. Life is not measured by the number breaths I take, which happens to be 18 breaths a minute, but by the moment that took my breath away. On November 1, 2002 I was in a car accident. I broke my neck at C1 C2 and injured my spinal cord.
clinical trial in Atlanta, Georgia, is proof that informed public debate is the key to medical advance
IF I’m honest, my first reaction to recent reports that the first human embryonic stem cell trial had begun on spinal patients in Atlanta was one of nonchalance.
Not because of its potential significance to those of us with spinal injuries — desperate for any news of progress — but because of the stop-start nature of the trial, plagued as it has been by legislative and regulatory restraints.
First breathing pacemaker comes to Israel.
The first breathing pacemaker of its kind that regulates the pace of respiration in victims of spinal cord damage has been implanted in Israel.
Yedidya Knopf, a 22-year-old resident of Jerusalem’s Alyn Rehabilitation Hospital who was seriously injured in a road accident nine years ago, was operated on a month ago at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.
LINCOLN — Larry Schroetlin rarely came across problems he couldn’t solve.
He was an auto mechanic and loved to fix things. Townspeople depended on him and he always delivered, every time, even if it meant skipping lunch or Christmas dinner to change a friend’s tire.
He married his high school sweetheart, raised three sons and owned the only repair shop in Butte, Neb. He was an active man, piloting single-engine aircraft through the 1980s until it got too expensive.