2 Indications and current treatments
2.1 Spinal cord injuries can damage the nerves that control breathing and cause respiratory failure.
2.2 Current standard care for managing chronic respiratory failure in patients with spinal cord injuries includes non-invasive forms of ventilation support (such as Bi‑level positive airway pressure [BiPAP]). In advanced stages of respiratory failure, mechanical ventilation is done through a permanent tracheostomy. Phrenic nerve pacing, in which the diaphragm is stimulated to contract by electrodes placed on the phrenic nerve in the neck or thorax, is an alternative treatment for patients who have intact phrenic nerves (the nerves that contract the diaphragm).