Stony Brook Surgeon First on Long Island to Implant Device to Aid Breathing for ALS Patients

University News

Stony Brook Surgeon First on Long Island to Implant Device to Aid Breathing for ALS Patients
“Diaphragm pacemaker” implanted for famed North Fork Chef Gerry Hayden

Watch: Diaphragm Pacing System in ALS patient Gerry Hayden video

 
STONY BROOK, N.Y., June 13, 2013 – Stony Brook Surgeon Dana Telem, MD, has implanted the first diaphragm pacing system for an ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) patient on Long Island. Famed chef Gerry Hayden, co-owner of the North Fork Table and Inn of Southold, NY, received the implanted device on March 8 at Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH). Called the NeuRx Diaphgram Pacing System (DPS), the device assists the breathing of individuals who develop chronic hypoventilation from ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), allowing them to breathe for a longer period without the assistance of mechanical ventilators. ALS is a rapidly progressing, incurable and fatal neuromuscular disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness that results in paralysis. As the nerves to the diaphragm muscles fail, patients lose the ability to breathe without ventilator support. Approximately 30,000 people in the United States live with ALS, and more than 5,600 new cases are diagnosed each year. Approximately 3,300 of those patients have respiratory problems and partially intact phrenic nerves, making them potential candidates for the DPS implant procedure, according to Synapse Biomedical, maker of the device. Hayden, a three-time James Beard Foundation Award finalist for best chef in the Northeastern U.S. and the only chef from Long Island ever nominated for the award, said he hopes the device will extend his ability to use his diaphragm to breathe on his own by as much as 16 months. He suffers weakness on the right side of his diaphragm muscle, he said. Ten days after the procedure, he was already able to use the device for 3-4 hours a day; his goal through conditioning is to be able to use it around the …

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