Kowalski, Krzysztof E, PhD

Kowalski-webResearch Statement

The purpose of our studies is to restore respiratory muscle function in patients with spinal cord injury. We are developing systems for electrical activation of the inspiratory muscles to maintain full-time ventilatory support in patients with ventilator-dependent tetraplegia and electrical activation of the expiratory muscles to provide an effective cough mechanism in patients with expiratory muscles paralysis. Ventilatory support systems decrease the cost of medical care, improve speech, increase patient comfort, increase the ease of transportation and, overall improve life quality. Restoration of an effective cough mechanism has the potential to significantly decrease the risk of respiratory complications, which still account for most of the morbidity and mortality in traumatic tetraplegia.

Professional Affiliations

  • Investigator, Cleveland FES Center
  • Staff Scientist, MetroHealth Research Institute, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, OH
  • Bioscientific Staff, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, OH
  • Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
  • Research Health Scientist, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, Cleveland, OH

Publications (Select)

  • DiMarco AF, Kowalski KE. Electrical activation to the parasternal intercostal muscles during high-frequency spinal cord stimulation in dogs. J Appl Physiol. 2015 Jan 15;118(2):148–155. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01321.2013 Pubmed PMID: 25342707
  • Dimarco AF, Kowalski KE, Hromyak DR, Geertman RT. Long-term follow-up of spinal cord stimulation to restore cough in subjects with spinal cord injury. J Spinal Cord Med. 2013 Jul 2. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 24090524.
  • Dimarco AF, Kowalski KE. Activation of inspiratory muscles via spinal cord stimulation. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2013 Nov 1;189(2):438-49. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2013.06.001. Epub 2013 Jun 7. PubMed PMID: 23751522; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3812328.
  • Dimarco AF, Kowalski KE. Spinal pathways mediating phrenic activation during high frequency spinal cord stimulation. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2013 Mar 1;186(1):1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2012.12.003. Epub 2012 Dec 20. PubMed PMID: 23261850; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3602409.
  • Kowalski KE, Hsieh YH, Dick TE, DiMarco AF. Diaphragm activation via high frequency spinal cord stimulation in a rodent model of spinal cord injury. Exp Neurol. 2013 Sep;247:689-93. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2013.03.006. Epub 2013 Mar 13. PubMed PMID: 23499833; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3742617.
  • DiMarco AF, Kowalski KE. Distribution of electrical activation to the external intercostal muscles during high frequency spinal cord stimulation in dogs. J Physiol. 2011 Mar 15;589(Pt 6):1383-95. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2010.199679. Epub 2011 Jan 17. PubMed PMID: 21242258; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3082098
  • DiMarco AF, Kowalski KE. Intercostal muscle pacing with high frequency spinal cord stimulation in dogs. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2010 May 31;171(3):218-24. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2010.03.017. Epub 2010 Mar 23. PubMed PMID: 20338266; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2874655.

Research Programs

Restoration of respiratory muscle function in subjects with
spinal cord injury:

  • Spinal cord stimulation to restore an effective cough mechanism in subjects with cervical and thoracic spinal cord injury. – Clinical Trial
  • High Frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation (HF-SCS) to restore inspiratory muscle function in spinal cord injury – Pre-Clinical Stage (Animal Study)

 Contact Information

Contact Name: Rebecca Polito
Contact Number: (216) 778-3612
Contact Email: rpolito@metrohealth.org