Theophylline has been shown to have beneficial effects on phrenic nerve and diaphragm activation. This case report involves a C5-C6 chronic tetraplegic patient with acute respiratory failure and ventilator dependence. IV aminophylline was administered in increasing doses (2 mg/kg, 4 mg/kg, and 6 mg/kg) over the course of 1 day. Diaphragm surface electromyography (sEMG), measures of respiration (tidal volume, minute ventilation, and frequency), and serum theophylline levels were captured. Diaphragm sEMG activity increased by a maximum of 50% at therapeutic levels. The rapid shallow breathing index dropped from 112 to 86. The subject was successfully weaned from ventilatory support. We conclude that administration of aminophylline facilitated weaning from ventilatory support in this tetraplegic patient.