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ALS Worldwide welcomes any questions or comments you might have.  We provide free, personalized and confidential support services to anyone in the ALS community—whether you are a patient or a loved one, friend, health care professional or caregiver of someone diagnosed.

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ALS Worldwide
5808 Dawley Drive
Fitchburg, WI 53711‑7209

ALS Worldwide
February 03, 2015

Access to the NeurRx Diaphragm Pacing System

The NeuRx Diaphragm Pacing System™, one of the most extraordinary medical devices available to ALS patients, is FDA-approved and available from Synapse Biomedical. Invented and pioneered by esteemed physician and surgeon, Dr. Ray Onders of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, the system enables ALS patients with mild to severe respiratory distress to breathe in a more normalized manner through a minimally invasive surgical implantation.

ALS impairs the nerves’ ability to signal the body’s muscles. Over time, the left and right phrenic nerves, which control breathing, lose their ability to carry messages from the brain to the diaphragm. As the diaphragm weakens, many ALS patients develop respiratory insufficiency. This can lead to chronic hypoventilation, when patients are no longer able to draw oxygen into their lungs.

The NeuRx DPS® enables ALS patients with mild to severe respiratory inefficiency to breathe normally through a minimally invasive, self-controlledDr. Raymond Onders surgical implantation. The system has been proved effective via an extensive clinical study at 9 clinical centers (8 in the U.S. and 1 in France.) The 86 ALS patients in the study who used the NeuRx DPS plus non-invasive ventilation (NIV) survived 16 months longer, on average, than patients who only used NIV. The NeuRx DPS has been specifically developed to treat respiratory issues in ALS and spinal cord injury patients. It consists of four electrodes implanted in the diaphragm to stimulate the muscle, a fifth electrode under the skin to complete the electrical circuit, a connector holder, a cable and an external battery powered pulse generator. By timing and controlling stimulus, the pulse generator regulates movement of the diaphragm muscle and improves respiration.

The system has no moving parts; it is silent while operating and small in size. It is also customized to each patient: the external pulse generator (EPG) will be set by your doctor to match your comfortable and natural breathing pattern, and after that, it is controlled by the patient via the EPG remote.

The NeuRx System is particularly important because previous ventilation methods have been shown to cause atrophy and accelerate respiratory compromise. The NeuRx Diaphragm Pacer, with its minimally invasive approach, is both scientifically and clinically proven to preserve muscle strength and maintain vital capacity.

It is very important that every patient considering our recommendations has a discussion with their physician to assess whether the treatment in consideration is appropriate. Understand that results will likely be individualized due the complexity of ALS and the variations in the disease.

How Does the NeuRx DPS work?

  • The NeuRx DPS consists of four electrodes implanted in the diaphragm to stimulate the muscle, a fifth electrode under the skin to complete the electrical circuit, a connector holder, a cable and an external battery powered pulse generator. By timing and controlling stimulus, the pulse generator regulates movement of the diaphragm muscle and improves respiration.
  • Synapse Biomedical offers neurostimulation products for respiratory insufficiency disorders. Synapse’s management is also executing a growth strategy to address multiple clinical conditions, including spinal cord injury (SCI), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), critical care, and sleep disorders.
  • An estimated 6,000 U.S. ventilator-dependant SCI patients spend over $100,000/year on ventilatory support and still their life expectancy is reduced by 40 – 70%. To date, the Diaphragm Pacer has been implemented in hundreds of SCI and ALS/MND patients worldwide with long term beneficial results, freeing 98% of patients from mechanical ventilation.

How Can Someone Obtain the NeuRx DPS?

To learn more or to find a physician or clinic site in the US or Internationally, check the Synapse Biomedical website.