22 September 2021

Restoration of Breathing After Drug Overdose and Spinal Cord Injuries

Epidural electrode grid C3–C5 with three bipolar (A1, A2, and A3) and three monopolar configurations (B1, B2, and B3); actual wire width is 25 µm. Epidural electrode grid C3–C5 with three bipolar (A1, A2, and A3) and three monopolar configurations (B1, B2, and B3); actual wire width is 25 µm.

Respiratory insufficiency is a leading cause of death due to drug overdose or spinal cord injuries. The diaphragm can be stimulated using temporal interference (TI) to restore ventilation with minimally invasive electrodes.

What did the scientists discover?

Rhythmic electrical stimuli can activate motor neurons to restore adequate ventilation and prevent fatal interruption of breathing. Researchers characterized the evoked response to this type of electrical activation in a rat model of opioid overdose to restore ventilation and arterial blood oxygenation (see figure).

THE TOOLS THEY USED

This research was conducted in the 4.7T Oxford MRI/S system with VNMRS console at the MagLab's AMRIS Facility located at the University of Florida.

Why is this important?

Respiratory insufficiency is a leading cause of death from opioid overdose. Electrical stimulation under a temporal interference protocol could be used to restore breathing while responders apply other life-saving treatments. Electrodes placed quickly onto the neck may be used to activate the diaphragm with rhythmic stimulation to produce a respiratory rate of 12-16 breaths per minute. Additionally, this method may be introduced through epidural application directly to the cervical spine to prevent fatal cessation of breathing in patients with chronic spinal cord injury, providing an attractive alternative to manual ventilation techniques. 

Who did the research?

M.D. Sunshine1, T.H. Mareci1,2, K.J. Otto1, D.D. Fuller1

1University of Florida; 2National MagLab - AMRIS Facility

Why did they need the MagLab?

The 4.7 Tesla MRI scanner at the AMRIS Facility was used to collect neurological and physiological data from rat models and, importantly, to verify optimal placement of intramuscular electrodes to determine which configurations could sufficiently activate the diaphragm.

Details for scientists

Funding

This research was funded by the following grants: Boebinger (NSF DMR-1644779); Sunshine (NIH F31HL145831); Fuller (NIH R21NS109571)


For more information, contact Joanna Long.

Details

  • Research Area: Biology
  • Research Initiatives: Life
  • Facility / Program: AMRIS
  • Year: 2021
Last modified on 22 September 2021