First in New Jersey: Atlantic Health System offers stroke survivors device to improve hand and arm function

Vivistim system illustration includes implant device, wireless transmitter, controller and laptop showing system interface,

Brushing your hair, opening a can of food or grasping a tool … these simple everyday acts remain difficult or out of reach for many stroke victims, who may experience arm or hand movements permanently impaired. Atlantic Health System recently became the first in New Jersey to use Micro Transponder®, Inc.’s Vivistim® Paired VNS™ System, an FDA-approved, breakthrough technology for stroke survivors experiencing ongoing hand and arm impairment.

The small device is implanted in a patient’s upper chest area in an outpatient procedure, employs vagus nerve stimulation during rehabilitation therapy. New Jersey’s first Vivistim implantation took place at Overlook Medical Center and was performed by neurosurgeon Ronald Benitez, MD.

Vivistim Paired VNS Therapy helps generate 2-3 times more hand and arm function for ischemic stroke survivors than traditional rehabilitation therapy alone. Since many stroke patients stop seeing the return of function after the first year or so of recovery after their stroke, the Vivistim device offers a potential alternative to recover additional function.

“Stimulating the vagus nerve directly in conjunction with traditional rehabilitation can open doorways to regain function that many patients had thought closed,” said vascular neurologist John Hanna, MD, medical director of Atlantic Health System’s Comprehensive Stroke Center at Overlook Medical Center. “It’s an incredible approach which we believe can drastically improve the quality of stroke patients’ lives.”

Read more about the Vivistim System at Atlantic Health System.