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Neuromodulation. 2005 Jul;8(3):203-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1403.2005.05239.x.

A preliminary feasibility study of different implantable pulse generators technologies for diaphragm pacing system.

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Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Scientific Research, Lausanne, Switzerland; Alfred Mann Foundation for Scientific Research, Santa Clarita, California, USA; Synapse Biomedical Inc., Oberlin, Ohio, USA; CASE Medical School, Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Advanced Bionics Corp. Valencia, California, USA; Independent Mechanical Engineering Consultant; Biomedical Engineering Department, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Bioness, Inc., Santa Clarita, California, USA.


Diaphragm pacing stimulation (DPS) for ventilator-dependent patients provides several advantages over conventional techniques such as phrenic nerve pacing or mechanical ventilator support. To date, the only existing system for DPS uses lead electrodes, percutaneously attached to an external pulse generator (PG). However, for a widespread use of this technique it would be more appropriate to eliminate the need for percutaneous wire and use a totally implantable system. The aim of this study was to determine if it were feasible to replace the external PG by an implantable system. We present here the results of a preliminary study of two different PG, currently used in other electrical stimulation (ES) clinical applications, which could be used as implantable DPS systems. One radio-frequency-powered PG, one rechargeable battery-powered PG, and the current external PG were tested. Each was attached to the externalized part of the wires, connected to the diaphragm and tidal volume (TV) was measured in one ventilator-dependent patient who has been using the current percutaneous stimulator for 3 years. Results indicated that both implantable PGs could achieve equivalent ventilatory requirements to the current external stimulator. No significant differences were observed between the three PG systems when stimulating the electrodes as used in the patient's own chronically attached PG system. We found that TV increased with increases in charge and frequency as expected when stimulating the patient's electrodes individually and in combination with each PG system. These results are a significant step toward developing a totally implantable DPS system for the ventilator-dependant patients. Further clinical tests to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of a fully implanted DPS system are warranted.

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