What We Treat

Diaphragm pacing is a treatment for children with congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS). CCHS is a rare genetic disorder of the autonomic nervous system. Children with CCHS require lifelong ventilator support because they are unable to control their breathing.

The severity of CCHS can vary in children. Some children require continuous ventilator support while others only need ventilator support while they sleep. Home assisted ventilation options include:

  • Positive pressure ventilation via tracheostomy
  • Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation
  • Diaphragm pacing via phrenic nerve stimulation

Services We Offer

Diaphragm pacing allows children who are dependent on a traditional ventilator full-time to be free of positive-pressure ventilation during the day, allowing them mobility. Since the diaphragm pacer device is small, portable and does not require any tubes, it allows children to participate in school and other activities without being attached to the ventilator circuit.

For children who are ventilator dependent only during sleep, diaphragm pacing may permit removal of the tracheostomy tube.

About diaphragm pacing

The diaphragm pacing system is a lightweight, battery-powered electronic device that supports breathing, possibly eliminating the need of a traditional ventilator either part-time or full-time. The pacing system stimulates diaphragm contraction through electrodes that are surgically placed on the phrenic nerves. The phrenic nerve electrodes are stimulated by a small battery-operated control box (transmitter) that is worn outside the body. When the phrenic nerve electrodes are stimulated by the transmitter, air flows into the child’s lungs through the contraction of the diaphragm.

Diaphragm pacing improves quality of life by increasing daytime mobility or by permitting tracheostomy tube removal in children.

Our Unique Approach

Since CCHS is a very rare condition, few hospitals and healthcare professionals are experienced with managing CCHS patients, particularly those with diaphragm pacers. At Children’s, we are proud to have a program and team dedicated to caring for these children.

In fall 2018, Children’s performed Georgia’s first pediatric diaphragm pacing surgery.

Meet the Team

The Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Diaphragm Pacing Program requires the collaboration of many pediatric specialists. Our team includes the following providers:

Locations

Outpatient clinic visits are held at the Center for Advanced Pediatrics. Surgical procedures are performed at Egleston hospital.

Center for Advanced Pediatrics
1400 Tullie Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
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Egleston hospital
1405 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30322
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