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March 18, 1968

Radio-Frequency Electrophrenic Respiration: Long-Term Application to a Patient With Primary Hypoventilation

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Judson is a Public Health Service fellow in cardiovascular surgery.

JAMA. 1968;203(12):1033-1037. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140120031007

Radio-frequency electrophrenic respiration (EPR) has been used successfully on a long-term intermittent basis to manage a patient with primary hypoventilation. The ability to use it only when desired, to adjust the amplitude of stimulation, and to control the rate of stimulation externally, has been made possible by use of the technique of radio-frequency transmission. Electrophrenic respiration by stimulation of one phrenic nerve has been carried out each night for ten months. Moderate fatigue of the stimulated diaghragm could be demonstrated after ten hours of stimulation. Further observation is required to determine if such fatigue is progressive. The future uses of radio-frequency electrophrenic respiration may include any condition of hypoventilation associated with an intact phrenic nerve and diaphragm. Whether its use will be of long-term benefit in the early stages of some hypoventilatory situations secondary to parenchymal disease is under study.

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