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
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
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
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
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
This is one of my most prized possessions. It is one of the very first pacemakers produced by CCC del Uruguay in 1969. It was given to me by my friend, the late Dr. Orestes Fiandra, founder of CCC del Uruguay. On February 2, 1960, Dr. Orestes Fiandra and Dr. Roberto Rubio accomplished the first succesful long-term
Omikron Scientific was a small-scale pacemaker company founded in Rehovot, Israel in 1979. The company stopped pacemaker production in 1985. Besides pacemakers, Omikron also produced a skin substitute called Omniderm, which was a thin, transparent, flexible membrane. It was used when a biological dressing would otherwise have been used. Omikron’s pacemakers were all VVI and featured gradual decline Magnet Rate
Northstar was founded in 1999 as Vertis Neuroscience headquartered in Seattle, WA, and the original goal was to develop electrical stimulation for chronic back pain. In 2003, under its new name, Northstar Neuroscience, then developed the Renova cortical stimulation system to deliver targeted electrical stimulation to the brain cortex as a treatment for stroke-related upper extremity.
Transneuronix, Inc. was founded in 1995 and was based in Mount Arlington, New Jersey. It was acquired by Medtronic in 2005. Before its acqusition by Medtronic, Transneuronix developed the Transcend, an implantable gastric stimulator device for the treatment of obesity by electrical stimulation of the stomach. Later, Medtronic developed the Transcend II IPG.
Transoma was the name that Data Sciences International of St Paul, MN adopted in 2003 when it re-fucused its animal telemetry implant business to develop an implantable wireless system to capture electrocardiogram data for diagnosing human cardiac arrhythmias, as well as to monitor the electrical activity of the heart and transmit data from the patient’s home
Sicel Technologies, Inc. was founded in 1999 and was based in Morrisville, NC. It ceased operations in 2010 after it declared bankruptcy. Sicel developed an implantable dosimeter that was 2 mm in diameter and 18 mm long, and was injected into the tumor to send back readings to an external receiver via RFID.