a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA) 

Week: 556.3 Guest: Dr. Robert Cilley, Prof. Pediatric Surgery, Penn State Hershey Med. Ctr. Topic: The diaphragm pacemaker Producer/Host: Steve Girard

NEMA: Freed from the ventilator...coming up...

SPOT: 15 years in the prevention of heart disease, stroke and trauma - the National Emergency Medicine Association. Call 800-332-6362.

NEMA: People with spinal cord injuries who can't breathe on their own can often turn to the new technology of the diaphragm pacemaker,which for some, can mean getting off a ventilator or out of a care facility..Dr. Robert Cilley of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center...

CILLEY: The idea of the phrenic nerve pacemaker is to go one step better and create a more natural breathing mechanism...stimulating devices, electrodes, that are implanted along the phrenic nerves...the nerves that drive the diaphragm muscle to operate. And they are placed with a surgical procedure with a device that's placed under the skin , and an external device drives that in order to stimulate the nerves to make them work.

NEMA: How has the technology improved over time....?

CILLEY The implantable phrenic nerve pacemaker has gone from a big, bulky device, to a relatively compact device. There's no wires that penetrate the skin...the transmitting device is worn on the outside of the patient, and is powered by a microprocessor battery pack about the size of a portable phone.

NEMA: I'm Steve Girard for the Heart of the Matter.