Andy Hoffer, a professor in SFU's biomedical physiology and kinesiology department, uses his decades of electrical nerve stimulation research and expertise to create novel health technology solutions.

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Fifty years of research and innovation at SFU: breathing fresh air into innovation

August 26, 2016
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More than 30 per cent of intensive care patients put on mechanical ventilation become dependent because the diaphragm quickly atrophies from lack of use.

Towering expenses for the Canadian health care system, high mortality rates and a diminished quality of life for surviving patients are among the devastating side effects. 

Andy Hoffer, a professor in SFU's biomedical physiology and kinesiology department, witnessed this firsthand nine years ago when his mother was put on a ventilator during a severe bout with pneumonia. 

It was while sitting with her in the ICU that his years of research crystallized into an idea: to use pacing electrodes to rhythmically activate the diaphragm muscle, thus avoiding the muscle atrophy caused by traditional ventilators. 

Hoffer ran with the idea, inventing the Lungpacer Diaphragm Pacing Therapy (DPT) system and founding Lungpacer Medical Inc. in 2009 to develop and commercialize his invention.