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

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Intermedics’ First Pacemakers (Mid 1970s)

Intermedics InterLith Pacemakers from the mid-1970s

In 1973, former Medtronic sales representative Albert Beutel founded Intermedics in Freeport, TX.  The first product was a small, mercury-cell-powered pacemaker.  In 1974 Intermedics introduced a lithium-powered version, and in 1976 it introduced InterLith which was hermetically sealed, and weighed just 65 grams.  At the time, InterLith’s size was a breakthrough, and became a very popular device, solidifying Intermedics’ position in the industry.

 

 
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Original Datasheet for Arco’s Nuclear Pacemakers (ca. 1974)

Original Arco Medical datasheet for NU5 plutonium-powered nuclear pacemaker

Some time ago, my friend and colleague Paul Spehr gave me a copy of Arco Medical’s product catalog.  I scanned the original datasheets for Arco Medical’s nuclear fixed-rate and demand pacemakers models NU-5 and NU-6 and posted them here in pdf format: Arco_Nuclear_Datasheets

Click here for a color picture and more information on Arco Medical’s nuclear pacemakers.

 

 
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St. Jude’s DBS Study Confirms Benefit of Constant Current System for Parkinson’s Disease

SJM Libra and Libra XP deep-brain neurostimulators to treat Parkinson's disease
Image Credit: St. Jude Medical

Today St. Jude announced that its first controlled study of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) confirms benefit of constant current system for patients with Parkinson’s Disease.

Results were published online today by The Lancet Neurology journal. The aim of the study was to evaluate the Libra(TM) and LibraXP(TM) DBS constant current systems to determine the devices’ safety and effectiveness in managing the symptoms of PD. Read more…

 
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St. Jude 4Q IPG Sales: CRM Down 4%, Neuromodulation 12% Up vs. Q4 2010

Yesterday, Jan 9, 2011, St. Jude Medical announced preliminary revenue results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2011:

“Fourth quarter cardiac rhythm management sales were approximately $728 million, a 4 percent decrease compared with the fourth quarter of 2010. Fourth quarter sales of implantable cardiac defibrillators were approximately $436 million, a 5 percent decrease from the comparable quarter in 2010. Pacemaker sales during the quarter were approximately $292 million, a 4 percent decrease compared with the fourth quarter of 2010.

Fourth quarter sales of neuromodulation products were approximately $121 million, a 12 percent increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2010.”

Company website: www.sjm.com

 

 

 
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Implantable-Device.com is Back On-Line!

I apologize for yesterday’s interruption of service in this blog.  I moved hosting company because the old one was too slow and unreliable.

Unfortunately, I fell for the 5-star reviews which actually ended up being paid by the hosting company…  I wish that they would invest half their marketing dollars on lowering server load.

Oh well… The blog does work much faster on the new server, so I’m sure that it will make your experience on this site much more pleasant.  Hope you enjoy it!

 
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American Optical Cardio-Care II Demand Pacemaker (ca. 1971)

American Optical Cardio Care II Demand Pacemaker

 

The Cardio Care II Pacemaker was American Optical’s second implantable device.  It was an improved version of the Cardio Care pacemaker.  Besides improvements to the circuitry, the circuit board was enclosed separately inside a hermetic can within the epoxy encapsulation. Read more…

 
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American Optical Cardio-Care Demand Pacemaker (1968)

American Optical Cardio-Care Implantable Demand Pacemaker (1968)

Barouh Berkovits at American Optical Co of Boston, MA designed the first “Demand Pacemaker” – what we now know as a VVI pacemaker. The Cardio-Care Demand Pacemaker, introduced in 1968, was American Optical’s first implantable device.

From Kirk Jeffrey’s Machines in our Hearts(2001):

“Berkovits in 1963 designed a sensing capability into the pacemaker. His invention behaved exactly like an asynchronous pacer until it detected a naturally occurring R wave, the indication of a ventricular contraction. This event would reset the timing circuit of the pacemaker, and the countdown to the next stimulus would begin anew. Thus the pacer stimulated the heart only when the ventricles failed to contract. It worked only ‘‘on demand.’’ As an added benefit, noncompetitive pacing extended the life of the battery. Read more…

 
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Biotectix

Biotectix electrically conductive polymers for implantable devices
Image Credit: Biotectix

Biotectix of Ann Arbor, MI recently contacted me to let me know of new conductive polymer materials that they are developing to enhance the performance of next-gen implantable stimulation and sensing devices.

Indeed, their materials sound very promising.  According to Biotectix, their electrode coatings and device components are made from proprietary conducting polymers that provide intimate, long-term electrical and biological connections between implantable electrodes and the target tissue.  They offer the conductivity and stability of metals at a low-cost with the ease of processing and biological functionality of polymers. Read more…

 
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Nanowattics: Ultra-Low-Power ASIC Design for Implantable Devices

Nanowattics logo custom IC ASIC design for implantable medical devices

Nanowattics ASIC for an implantable medical device Nanowattics was founded in 2007 to provide development services of ultra-low-power application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for safety-critical applications.

Nanowattics’ core team is extremelly experienced in the design of ASICs for implantable medical devices.  Their designs include the main ASIC for a DDDR pacemaker,  a sub-microvolt differential amplifier for electroneurographic signal acquisition, and the chipset for a multi-channel current-mode implantable stimulator.

Besides IC design services, Nanowattics also offers IC development project management through the entire product design cycle, including feasibility studies, translation of requirements, foundry submission, fabrication, packaging, prototype testing, documentation, certifications, and production. Read more…

 
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A Challenge to History Buffs: Who Was Digikon?

Digikon model LD451 Ventricular Inhibited Pulse Generator

I took this picture a very long time ago at the office of one of my implanter friends in Europe.  Ever since then, I’ve tried to find out about “Digikon,” but have had no luck so far.  All that I have been able to find from the St. Jude legacy device database is that Digikon had produced a number of pacemaker models, including the one shown in this picture.

Do you know anything about Digikon?  Please let me know!

 
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Cook Pacemaker’s Sensor Kelvin 504 Central-Venous-Temperature-Sensing Pacemaker (ca. 1992)

Cook Pacemakers Sensor Kelvin Model 504 central-venous-temperature-sensing rate-responsive pacemaker

In 1983, Bill Cook and Dr. Neal Fearnot began to work under the Cook Pacemaker Company in Leechburg, PA on developing the technology developed by Dr. Fearnot at Purdue University into an improved prototype for a temperature-based exercise responsive pacemaker that was released in 1988 as the Kelvin Sensor rate-responsive pacemaker.  One of the first CVT rate-adaptive pacemakers was the Cook Model Kelvin 500 series. Read more…

 
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Intermedics’ Circadia Central Venous Temperature-Sensing Pacemaker (ca. 1993)

Intermedics Circadia central-venous-temperature-sensing rate-responsive pacemaker

Back side of Intermedics Circadia pacemaker.  Labeling shows special connector for temperature-sensing lead.

The Circadia pacemaker was one of the very few devices that had a lead-borne thermistor to measure cental venous temperature (CVT) as a sensor for rate-response.

A unique feature of this pacemaker was an iridium-oxide (IrOx)-coated button welded to the can.  It was believed that this button would improve unipolar IEGM sensing and reduce unipolar pacing thresholds (it didn’t). Read more…

 
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Cook’s Sensor Kelvin and Intermedics’ Circadia Temperature-Sensing Rate-Responsive Pacemakers

 

Cook Pacemaker's Kelvin and Intermedics' Circadia central venous temperature-controlled rate-responsive pacemakersOne of the indicators of metabolic demand that has been used for controlling the rate of pacemakers is central venous blood temperature (CVT).

In 1983, Bill Cook and Dr. Neal Fearnot began to work under the Cook Pacemaker Company on developing the technology developed by Dr. Fearnot at Purdue University into an improved prototype for a temperature-based exercise responsive pacemaker that was released in 1988 as the Kelvin Sensor rate-responsive pacemaker.  One of the first CVT rate-adaptive pacemakers was the Cook Model Kelvin 500 series.

Another one of the first CVT rate-adaptive pacemakers was the Intermedics Nova MR, which differs from the Kelvin 500 series in that its pacing algorithm had a more dynamic HR response. Read more…

 
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Medtronic’s Chronicle Implantable Hemodynamic Monitor for Heart Failure Monitoring

Medtronics Chronicle Implantable Hemodynamics Monitor
Image Credit: Medtronic

The Medtronic Chronicle implantable hemodynamic monitor used a specialized RV lead/sensor.  The device was able to monitor and telemeter:

  • Systolic and diastolic pressure
  • Estimated pulmonary artery diastolic pressure
  • RV dp/dt (positive & negative)
  • Heart rate & activity
  • Core body temperature
  • Continuous remote monitoring
  • Read more…
 
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Medcor Corporation’s Pacemakers (ca. 1975)

Medcor Corporation pacemaker ca. 1975Medcor was established in Hollywood, FL in 1969, and began developing pacemakers, lead and accessories in 1971.  By 1975 it had a series of lithium-powered pacemaker in the market, but they never became popular with physicians.

On July 1980, Daig Corporation of Minnetonka, MN acquired Medcor with the expectation that Medcor pacemaker technology could be profitably marketed.

Daig had hoped to market a new line of Medcor pacemakers, but significant electronic malfunctions were encountered which foreclosed further development Medcor’s pacemaker product line. As a result of malfunctions in the first pacemaker line, FDA approval was withheld on a second Medcor line of pacemakers due to similarities in product design.

In 1981, amidst a very serious financial condition, Daig closed its doors.  The remaining assets were acquired by Daig’s largest customer – Pacesetter (now part of St. Jude Medical).

UPDATE, May 20, 2013: 

Mark Christensen – who worked at Daig Corporation from 1980 to 1986 – sent me a kind note with some additional information:  “As you note in your comments on Medcor, it was purchased by Daig in 1980 but remained as a separate business. Daig’s financial crisis in 1981 caused Daig to go into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and Medcor went to Chapter 7 – liquidation and was sold at auction in late 1981. No pacemaker company bought any of the assets. Daig reorganized, diversified into EP catheters and was bought by St Jude Medical in 1996 (15 years later).”   Thanks Mark!

 

 
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