About Spinal Cord Injury and the Avery Diaphragm Pacing System
Quadriplegia, also known as tetrapalegia, is the loss of voluntary movement and sensation in all four extremities, and usually results from a cervical spinal cord injury (SCI). Other conditions, such as a brain stem lesion or spinal meningitis, may also result in quadriplegia.
The phrenic nerve originates at C3 through C5 and is the neurological pathway between the brain and the diaphragm. Injuries that occur at or above C4 can interrupt these pathways and render the patient dependent on ventilatory assistance. Immediately following injury, this assistance is provided by a mechanical ventilator. After the patient is neurologically and orthopedically stable and cannot be weaned from mechanical ventilation, a diaphragm pacing system should be considered.