Helping Spinal Injury Patients Breathe Easier
WebMD News Archive
"It's wonderful. There's nothing like this in the
world," Conlan says. "When I was on the vent, I'd have to wait for it
to give me a breath before I could talk. Now I don't."
Onders says he would like to test the device in at least five
more patients and then seek FDA approval.
Down the road, Triolo says, doctors will call on many branches
of science to help patients with spinal cord injuries. Researchers currently
are trying to find out how to regrow damaged nerves, for instance, and movement
devices similar to the breathing stimulator are being developed to help
patients cope with the effects of their paralysis.
Investigators say they hope that eventually, patients will be
able to use more than one device at the same time.
Until such time, what should doctors and their patients with
spinal cord injuries do?
"I advise my patients to hope for the best but prepare for
the worst," David Yu, MD, tells WebMD. Patients can hope for a cure, but
one may not become available in their lifetimes, says Yu, an FES Center
investigator and chief of the spinal cord injury service at Cleveland's
MetroHealth Medical Center. That's why patients should be encouraged to pursue
the technology available today that might be able to improve what they can do,
"In terms of the FDA-approved devices, I recommend that all
patients that could benefit should be introduced to them, so they can make an
informed decision," he tells WebMD.