Diaphragmatic pacing in spinal cord injury

Kevin Dalal, Anthony F. DiMarco

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


After cervical spinal cord injuries, many patients are unable to sustain independent ventilation because of a disruption of diaphragm innervation and respiratory functioning. If phrenic nerve function is preserved, the patient may be able to tolerate exogenous pacing of the diaphragm via electrical stimulation. Previously this was accomplished by stimulation directly to the phrenic nerves, but may be accomplished less invasively by percutaneously stimulating the diaphragm itself. The benefits, when compared with mechanical ventilation, include a lower rate of pulmonary complications, improved venous return, more normal breathing and speech, facilitation of eating, cost-effectiveness, and increased patient mobility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-629
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Diaphragm
  • Phrenic nerve
  • Tetraplegia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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