My brother in law who has been in the hospital for 4 1/2 years..is getting to go home this month...for good! Last month he had a pacemaker like machine implanted into his chest that shocks his chest muscles and makes him take a breath. He got this so he could be weaned off the ventilator and hopefully go home. It's called a Breathing Pacemaker.
Diaphragm (Breathing) Pacemakers
A breathing pacemaker consists of surgically implanted receivers and electrodes and an external transmitter with antennas worn directly over the implanted receivers.
The external transmitter and antennas send radiofrequency energy to the implanted receivers just under the skin. The receivers then convert the radio waves into stimulating pulses.
These pulses are then sent down the electrodes to the phrenic nerves, causing the diaphragms to contract. This contraction causes inhalation of air. When the pulses stop, the diaphragms relax and exhalation occurs. Repetition of this series of pulses produces a normal breathing pattern.
A breathing pacemaker can provide ventilatory support for patients with chronic respiratory insufficiency whose diaphragm, lungs, and phrenic nerves have residual function. Typically, these patients have high spinal cord injuries, central sleep apnea or other central neurological disorders, or a paralyzed diaphragm.
My brother in law has Pompe Disease and I did an interview with him for Yahoo Contributor Network, last year.
I'm happy for him, my sister in law and their 8 year old son. I know they must be beyond happy right now.