Published: July 12, 2012
Updated: July 12, 2012
For the first time in North Carolina, Duke surgeons implanted a diaphragm pacemaker that has been used in paralysis patients now for several years, including "Superman" actor Christopher Reeves. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for ALS patients last fall.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It is often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
People with ALS who have chronic breathing problems and whose diaphragm -- their primary breathing muscle, the diaphragm- can still respond to electrical stimulation, may benefit from the the pacing system. It may delay or eliminate the need for ventilation through an opening in the nec
View WRAL's exclusive story featuring the first ALS patient to be implanted with this device in North Carolina.