News Column

"Implantable Medical Device Switch Matrix" in Patent Application Approval Process

August 8, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Drug Week -- A patent application by the inventors CHOW, Eric Y. (US); THOMPSON, David L. (US), filed on January 14, 2013, was made available online on July 24, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by NewsRx correspondents (see also Cyberonics, Inc.).

This patent application is assigned to Cyberonics, Inc.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Implantable medical devices are used for a variety of medical purposes including treatment of particular medical conditions, gathering patient body parameter data, and providing regular doses of therapy such as electro-stimulation or medications. Such implantable medical devices may include internal circuitry coupled to one or more external electrodes or electrode connectors. Electrostatic discharge during handling of such implantable medical devices can cause damage to internal electronics. Such damage to an implantable medical device may remain unnoticed until after the implantable medical device is implanted within a patient. If the electrostatic discharged caused significant damage to the implantable medical device, the implantable medical device may have to be removed via a subsequent medical procedure, at significant cost and inconvenience, as well as additional risk to the patient."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, NewsRx journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "In a particular embodiment, an implantable medical device includes a switch matrix. One or more switches of the switch matrix may be electrically coupled between an external electrode connection of the implantable medical device and internal circuitry of the implantable medical device. Accordingly, when a particular switch of the switch matrix is open, a corresponding electrode connection of the implantable medical device may be decoupled from the internal circuitry. Conversely, when the particular switch is closed, the corresponding electrode connection may be coupled to the internal circuitry. Thus, the switch matrix may provide electrostatic discharge protection to the internal circuitry when one or more switches of the switch matrix are open and may provide operational coupling of the external electrode connections to the internal circuitry when the one or more switches are closed.

"In a particular embodiment, an implantable medical device may have multiple operational modes. For example, the operational modes may include a treatment mode, a sensing mode, a charging mode (e.g., inductive or far-field radiative charging signals), an RF communication mode, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) mode, other modes, or a combination thereof. For charging mode, RF communication mode, or MRI mode it may be beneficial to open one or more of the switches of the switch matrix to disconnect the leads to reduce the amount of noise and energy transferred from the leads to the circuitry or circuitry to the leads and electrodes. In the treatment mode, therapeutic treatment, such as medication or stimulation may be provided to target tissue of the patient. When the therapeutic treatment includes electrical stimulation, one or more of the electrode connections may be used to provide a stimulation signal (e.g., a current) to the target tissue of the patient. In the sensing mode, one or more of the electrode connections may be used to gather body parameter data of the patient. In this embodiment, the one or more switches may be configured to provide other benefits or operational functions in addition to or instead of electrostatic discharge protection. For example, one or more switches of the switch matrix may be opened during a treatment mode to prevent current from passing through a particular electrode connection in an unintended manner (e.g., a leakage current). One or more switches of the switch matrix may be opened during sensing in the sensing mode.

"In a particular embodiment, one or more switches of the switch matrix may be controllable remotely via a signal sent from an external device. In this embodiment, the implantable medical device can be placed in a safe mode (e.g. an implantation mode), during implantation of the implantable medical device. For example, in the safe mode, one or more switches of the switch matrix may be open to protect the implantable medical device from electrostatic discharge. The implantable medical device can be switched to an operational mode via a signal transmitted from an external device after implantation of the implantable medical device. In the operational mode, particular switches of the switch matrix may be closed to connect the external electrode connectors to the internal circuitry of the implantable medical device.

"In a particular embodiment, an implantable medical device may include a housing, one or more electrode connectors, and multiple circuit elements within the housing. The implantable medical device may also include one or more switches within the housing, where each switch of the one or more switches is coupled between one or more of the multiple circuit elements and at least one electrode connector of the one or more electrode connectors.

"In a particular embodiment, a method includes, after implantation of an implantable medical device in a patient, transmitting an activation signal to the implantable medical device. In response to the activation signal, the implantable medical device changes modes from an implantation mode to an operational mode by closing one or more switches within a housing of the implantable medical device. Each switch of the one or more switches is coupled between one or more of multiple circuit elements within the housing and at least one electrode connector.

"In a particular embodiment, a method includes closing a first switch when a first operational mode of an implantable medical device is selected. The first switch is located in a circuit path between a housing of the implantable medical device and one or more circuit elements within the implantable medical device. The method also includes gathering body parameter data, in the first operational mode, by using the housing as an electrode. The method further includes opening the switch when a second operational mode of the implantable medical device is selected, and applying an electrical signal generated by a stimulation circuit of the implantable medical device to tissue of a patient via electrodes coupled to the stimulation circuit via one or more electrode connectors.

"The features, functions, and advantages that have been described can be achieved independently in various embodiments or may be combined in yet other embodiments, further details of which are disclosed with reference to the following description and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a particular embodiment of a system including an implantable medical device and an external device;

"FIG. 2 is a schematic circuit diagram of a first particular embodiment of circuit components of the implantable medical device of FIG. 1 showing current flows during operation in a stimulation mode;

"FIG. 3 is a schematic circuit diagram of a second particular embodiment of circuit components of the implantable medical device of FIG. 1 showing current flows during operation in a stimulation mode;

"FIG. 4 is a schematic circuit diagram of a third particular embodiment of circuit components of the implantable medical device of FIG. 1 showing current flows during operation in a stimulation mode;

"FIG. 5 is a schematic circuit diagram of a particular embodiment of circuit components of the implantable medical device of FIG. 1 during operation in a sensing mode;

"FIG. 6 is a schematic circuit diagram of a particular embodiment of circuit components of the implantable medical device of FIG. 1 during operation in an implantation mode;

"FIG. 7 is a flowchart of a first particular embodiment of a method of operation associated with the implantable medical device of FIG. 1; and

"FIG. 8 is a flowchart of a second particular embodiment of a method of operation of the implantable medical device of FIG. 1."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: CHOW, Eric Y.; THOMPSON, David L. Implantable Medical Device Switch Matrix. Filed January 14, 2013 and posted July 24, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=1240&p=25&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140717.PD.&OS=PD/20140717&RS=PD/20140717

Keywords for this news article include: Cyberonics Inc.

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Source: Drug Week


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