A blog about what is new (and old) in the world of active implantable medical devices 

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Nanostim’s Leadless Pacemaker

Nanostim is an early-stage AIMD company in Milpitas, CA that is developing a pacemaker that can be implanted inside the heart through a catheter.  The tiny device is attached directly to the heart, eliminating the need for leads. In May 2011 Nanostim announced that St. Jude Medical had made a substantial investment in the company. The company is operating in

 
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BetaBatt’s Modern Betavoltaic Cells to Power Active Implantable Devices

Image Credit: University of Rochester Nuclear energy cells that converted the impact of the β-particles on a p-n junction were developed in the 1970s.  One example was CCC’s atomic pacemaker, which was powered by a promethium-147  McDonell-Douglas Betacel 400. Lately, BetaBatt Inc. of Houston, TX licensed beta-voltaic technology developed  at the University of Rochester to develop an

 
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Glucose Fuel-Cell-Powered Implantable Devices

  My friend, Dr. Alain Ripart – the Chief Scientific Officer at Ela Medical (now part of Sorin) showed me this interesting contraption from his personal collection.  It is an experimental glucose-powered pacemaker developed in the 1970s.  It generated electricity by acquiring its fuel (glucose) directly from a living body to generate enough current to charge two NiCd cells

 
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American Optical’s Nuclear Pacemaker (1970’s)

Barouh Berkovits at American Optical Co of Boston, MA designed the first “Demand Pacemaker” – what we now know as a VVI pacemaker.  As other companies in the 1970s, American Optical developed a nuclear-battery-powered version of their pacemaker. American Optical used a 3Ci Pu-238 Radioisotope Thermal Generator (RTG) produced by Fred Hittman’s Hittman Nuclear Development Corp. (Model NB-200).  It consisted of a tiny 8 Ci

 
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Arco Medical’s Nuclear-Powered Pacemaker (ca.1974)

An isotopic thermoelectric generator was developed in the US by Numec Corporation under a contract from the US Atomic Energy Commission and sold for $3,200 (back in 1974). The thermopile consisted of doped bismuth telluride pairs that were placed in a parallel/series arrangement to generate some 300 μW of power to run this Arco Medical

 
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Medtronic’s Atomic Pacemaker (early 1970’s)

In the late 1960s Medtronic – today the largest manufacturer of implantable medical devices in the world – teamed up with Alcatel, a French company, to design a nuclear-powered pacemaker. The first human implant of the device took place in Paris in 1970. The nuclear battery in the Medtronic device used a tiny 2.5 Ci

 
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CCC del Uruguay’s Atomic Pacemaker (1972)

This nuclear pacemaker was manufactured ca. 1972 by Dr. Orestes Fiandra’s CCC del Uruguay. It was powered by a McDonell-Douglas Betacel 400 which had promethium-147 sandwiched between semiconductor wafers. As the radioactive promethium isotope decays, it emits β-particles (electrons). The impact of the β-particles on a p-n junction causes a forward bias in the semiconductor

 
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