(19)
(11)EP 3 180 069 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
13.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/20

(21)Application number: 15833299.9

(22)Date of filing:  13.08.2015
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A61N 1/00  (2006.01)
A61N 1/05  (2006.01)
A61N 1/378  (2006.01)
A61N 1/375  (2006.01)
A61N 1/36  (2006.01)
A61N 1/372  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2015/045138
(87)International publication number:
WO 2016/028608 (25.02.2016 Gazette  2016/08)

(54)

MINIATURE IMPLATABLE NEUROSTIMULATOR SYSTEM FOR SCIATIC NERVES AND THEIR BRANCHES

IMPLANTIERBARES MINIATURNEUROSTIMULATORSYSTEM FÜR ISCHIASNERVEN UND DEREN VERZWEIGUNGEN

SYSTÈME DE NEUROSTIMULATEUR IMPLANTABLE MINIATURE POUR LE NERF SCIATIQUE ET SES RAMIFICATIONS


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 17.08.2014 US 201462038316 P
17.08.2014 US 201462038308 P
12.01.2015 US 201562102543 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
21.06.2017 Bulletin 2017/25

(73)Proprietor: Nine Continents Medical, Inc.
Livermore, CA 94550 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • OSTROFF, Alan
    Pleasanton, CA 94588 (US)
  • JACOBSON, Peter
    Livermore, CA 94550 (US)

(74)Representative: HGF Limited 
8th Floor 140 London Wall
London EC2Y 5DN
London EC2Y 5DN (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2009/080785
US-A1- 2002 055 761
US-A1- 2006 149 345
US-A1- 2007 060 980
US-A1- 2008 039 915
US-A1- 2009 210 019
US-A1- 2011 004 269
US-A- 5 327 909
US-A1- 2002 123 780
US-A1- 2006 155 345
US-A1- 2007 100 408
US-A1- 2008 221 383
US-A1- 2010 176 808
US-A1- 2014 214 125
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND



    [0001] The present disclosure relates to medical devices, systems, and methods. In particular, the present disclosure relates to medical devices, systems, and methods for stimulating tissue such as nerves to treat various indications. Indications of interest may include urinary and bowel incontinence, for example. Stimulation devices and therapies for urinary and bowel incontinence are currently available in the marketplace but may be limited in at least some cases.

    [0002] A sacral nerve stimulator, InterStim II, marketed by Medtronic Inc., of Fridley, MN, provides therapy for urinary or bowel incontinence through the use of electrical stimulation of the sacral nerve by a long-term active implantable device. The InterStim II implantable generator is large, at 14 cc, and must be implanted in the upper buttock. A long lead wire, 33 cm, must then be tunneled to the stimulation site. The generator typically lasts approximately 4.4 years due to the relatively high duty-cycle stimulation requirement of 16 seconds ON, 8 seconds OFF at an amplitude of 3 V, rate of 14 Hz and pulse width of 210 µs.

    [0003] InterStim patients undergo an invasive qualification step before the generator is implanted, to verify that the therapy has a high likelihood of success. The qualification step requires the implantation of a temporary electrode connected to a transcutaneous wire that plugs into an external neurostimulator carried by the patient, typically for 3 to 5 days.

    [0004] PTNS (Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation), marketed by Uroplasty, Inc, of Minnetonka, MN, also provides therapy for urinary incontinence through electrical stimulation of the tibial nerve via a percutaneous needle electrode. Electrical stimulation is provided by an external stimulator programmed to delivery therapy for approximately 30 minutes. Initially patient sessions are typically scheduled once per week. Sessions can be scheduled less frequently once effective relief occurs.

    [0005] Accordingly, there are needs for devices, systems, and methods for stimulation that address one or more of the above drawbacks such as large and uncomfortable implant size, low implant lifespan, invasive qualification steps, and too frequent patient sessions, to name a few. US2014214125 discloses an implantable electroacupuncture system useful for treating obesity or dyslipidemia through application of electroacupuncture stimulation pulses at specified tissue location of patient.

    SUMMARY



    [0006] The invention is set out in the appended claims.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0007] The novel features of the invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. A better understanding of the features and advantages of the present invention will be obtained by reference to the following detailed description that sets forth illustrative embodiments, in which the principles of the invention are utilized, and the accompanying drawings of which:

    Fig. 1 shows a side view of a bipolar miniature implanted neurostimulator having a cuff electrode assembly, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 2 shows a side view of a unipolar miniature implanted neurostimulator having a cuff electrode assembly, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 3 shows a side view of a unipolar miniature implanted neurostimulator with an RF trap and a rod electrode assembly, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 4 shows a side view of a bipolar miniature implanted neurostimulator with an RF trap and a rod electrode assembly, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 5 shows a perspective view of a lower leg of a subject having a tunnel made therein for the implantation of a miniature implanted neurostimulator, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 6 shows a side view of a blunt dissection tool, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 7 shows a block diagram for a miniature implanted neurostimulator with inductive telemetry, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 8 shows a block diagram for a miniature implanted neurostimulator with radiofrequency (RF) telemetry, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 9 shows a block diagram of an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) usable for miniature implanted neurostimulators, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 10 shows a wearable programmer or limb wand for miniature implanted neurostimulators, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 11 shows another wearable programmer or limb wand for miniature implanted neurostimulators, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 12 shows a wearable programmer or limb wand having onboard control(s) and display(s), according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 13 shows another wearable programmer having onboard control(s) and display(s), according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 14 shows a block diagram for the components of a wearable programmer or limb wand having an onboard (percutaneous tibial neurostimulation) PTNS generator, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 15 shows a block diagram for the components of a wearable programmer or limb wand, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 16 shows a state diagram for a low duty-cycle stimulator with a scheduled therapy, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 17 shows a state diagram for a low duty-cycle stimulator with deferred therapy, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 18 shows a front view of a patient operated key fob programmer, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 19 shows a block diagram for the patient operated key fob of Fig. 18;

    Fig. 20 shows a schematic of a key fob programmer for miniature implanted neurostimulators, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 21 shows a schematic of a smartphone programmer system for miniature implanted neurostimulators, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 22 shows a perspective view of a lower leg of a subject having a tunnel made therein for the implantation of a miniature implanted neurostimulator, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 23 shows a side view of a miniature implanted neurostimlator having an anchor to prevent migration, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 24 shows a perspective view of a lower leg of a subject having two tunnels made therein for the implantation of a miniature implanted neurostimulator, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 25 shows a block diagram of a miniature implanted neurostimulator with hybrid telemetry, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 26 shows a schematic of a programmer-to-implant telemetry scheme, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 27 shows a schematic of an implant-to-programmer telemetry scheme, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 28 shows a graph of implant marker synchronization pulses when there no link established, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 29 shows a graph of implant marker synchronization pulses when there is a link established, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 30 shows a graph of implant marker synchronization pulses during stimulation, accordingly to many embodiments;

    Fig. 31 shows a graph of exemplary implant-to-programmer communication data, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 32 shows a graph of exemplary implant-to-programmer communication data, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 33 shows a graph of exemplary programmer-to-implant data, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 34 shows a graph of programmer-to-implant data example during stimulation, according to many embodiments;

    Fig. 35 shows a graph of a telemetry data format, according to many embodiments; and

    Fig. 36 shows a block diagram of an external programmer, according to many embodiments.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0008] To provide further clarity to the Detailed Description and associated Figures, the following list of components and associated reference numbers is provided. Like reference numbers refer to like elements.

    [0009] Fig. 1
    • 1 - miniature implanted neurostimulator
    • 2 - anchor feature
    • 3 - cell compartment
    • 4 - electronics compartment
    • 5 - header
    • 6 - flexible insulated lead wires
    • 7 - bipolar cuff electrode assembly
    • 8 - proximal cuff electrode
    • 9 - distal cuff electrode


    [0010] Fig. 2
    • 1 - miniature implanted neurostimulator
    • 2 - anchor feature
    • 3 - cell compartment
    • 4 - electronics compartment
    • 5 - header
    • 6 - flexible insulated lead wire
    • 10 - unipolar cuff electrode assembly
    • 11 - distal cuff electrode


    [0011] Fig. 3
    • 1 - miniature implanted neurostimulator
    • 2 - anchor feature
    • 3 - cell compartment
    • 4 - electronics compartment
    • 5 - header
    • 6 - flexible insulated lead wire
    • 12 - rod electrode assembly
    • 13 - distal rod electrode
    • 14 - inductor


    [0012] Fig. 4
    • 1 - miniature implanted neurostimulator
    • 2 - anchor feature
    • 3 - cell compartment
    • 4 - electronics compartment
    • 5 - header
    • 6 - flexible insulated lead wire
    • 14 - inductor
    • 15 - bipolar rod electrode assembly
    • 16 - proximal rod electrode
    • 17 - distal rod electrode


    [0013] Fig. 5
    • 20 - single incision surgical procedure
    • 21 - stimulation site
    • 22 - incision
    • 23 - tunnel for generator
    • 24 - tunnel for electrode assembly
    • 25 - leg
    • 26 - nerve


    [0014] Fig. 6
    • 30 - blunt dissection tool
    • 31 - rod
    • 32 - handle


    [0015] Fig. 7
    • 35 - block diagram, miniature implanted neurostimulator with inductive telemetry
    • 36 - cell
    • 37 - ASIC
    • 38 - telemetry coil
    • 39 - DC blocking capacitor
    • 40 - hermetic feedthrough
    • 41 - TIP (cathodic stimulator output)
    • 42 - RING (anodic stimulator output)


    [0016] Fig. 8
    • 45 - block diagram, miniature implanted neurostimulator with RF telemetry
    • 36 - cell
    • 37 - ASIC
    • 39 - DC-blocking capacitor
    • 40 - hermetic feedthrough
    • 41 - TIP (cathodic stimulator output)
    • 42 - RING (anodic stimulator output)
    • 43 - RF coupling capacitor


    [0017] Fig. 9
    • 50 - block diagram, miniature implanted neurostimulator ASIC
    • 51 - Q, V monitor
    • 52 - regulator
    • 53 - charge pump
    • 54 - processor
    • 55 - stimulator output
    • 56 - 32 kHz oscillator
    • 57 - fast oscillator
    • 58 - implant telemetry
    • 59 - 32 kHz external crystal
    • 60 - charge pump capacitor
    • 61 - charge pump capacitor
    • 62 - stimulator output
    • 63 - telemetry inductor


    [0018] Fig. 10
    • 65 - limb wand
    • 66 - wand main housing
    • 67 - flexible strap


    [0019] Fig. 11
    • 70 - limb wand
    • 71 - wand main housing


    [0020] Fig. 12
    • 75 - torso programmer
    • 76 - programmer main housing
    • 77 - keyboard and display unit
    • 78 - flexible strap


    [0021] Fig. 13
    • 80 - programmer with integrated PTNS stimulator
    • 81 - optional telemetry wand connection
    • 82 - TIP (cathodic stimulator output)
    • 83 - RING (anodic stimulator output)
    • 84 - keyboard and display unit


    [0022] Fig. 14
    • 85 - block diagram of programmer with integrated PTNS stimulator
    • 86 - power supply
    • 87 - charge pump
    • 88 - V monitor
    • 89 - stimulator output
    • 90 - processor
    • 91 - oscillator
    • 92 - real time clock
    • 93 - implant telemetry
    • 94 - keyboard and display I/O
    • 95 - battery
    • 96 - on/off switch
    • 97 - charge pump capacitor
    • 98 - charge pump capacitor
    • 99 - DC-blocking capacitor
    • 100 - TIP connection
    • 101 - RING connection
    • 102 - telemetry inductor
    • 103 - display LED
    • 104 - key switch


    [0023] Fig. 15
    • 110 - block diagram, limb wand
    • 111 - power supply
    • 112 - V monitor
    • 113 - processor
    • 114 - RF telemetry
    • 115 - implant telemetry
    • 116 - oscillator
    • 117 - keyboard and display I/O
    • 118 - battery
    • 119 - on/off switch
    • 120 - RF antenna
    • 121 - telemetry inductor
    • 122 - display LED
    • 123 - key switch


    [0024] Fig. 16
    • 125 - low duty cycle stimulator state diagram
    • 126 - IDLE state
    • 127 - enable stimulator output state
    • 128 - transition occurring every week
    • 129 - transition occurring after 30 minutes


    [0025] Fig. 17
    • 130 - low duty cycle stimulator with deferred therapy
    • 131 - IDLE state
    • 132 - enable stimulator output state
    • 133 - 1-hour delay state
    • 134 - transition occurring every week
    • 135 - transition occurring after 30 minutes of stimulation
    • 136 - transition occurring after 1-hour delay
    • 137 - transition occurring after leg movement detected


    [0026] Fig. 18
    • 140 - patient key fob
    • 141 - key fob housing
    • 142 - LED indicating key fob is active
    • 143 - LED indicating low battery status
    • 144 - key to activate key fob


    [0027] Fig. 19
    • 150 - block diagram, patient key fob
    • 151 - power supply
    • 152 - V monitor
    • 153 - processor
    • 154 - RF telemetry
    • 155 - oscillator
    • 156 - display driver
    • 157 - battery
    • 158 - key switch
    • 159 - RF antenna
    • 160 - display LED


    [0028] Fig. 20
    • 165 - smart phone key fob/programmer system via direct implant connection
    • 166 - human leg
    • 167 - miniature implanted neurostimulator
    • 168 - key fob app / programmer app running on smart phone


    [0029] Fig. 21
    • 170 - smart phone programmer system via indirect implant connection
    • 171 - human leg
    • 172 - miniature implanted neurostimulator
    • 173 - programmer app running on smart phone
    • 174 -limb wand


    [0030] Fig. 22
    • 180 - single incision surgical procedure
    • 181 - leg
    • 182 - incision
    • 183 - tunnel for generator
    • 184 - nerve
    • 185 - stimulation site


    [0031] Fig. 23
    • 190 - miniature implanted neurostimulator with alternative anchor
    • 191 - miniature implanted neurostimulator
    • 192 - anchor
    • 193 - flexible insulated lead wire
    • 194 - electrode assembly


    [0032] Fig. 24
    • 195 - double incision surgical procedure
    • 196 - leg
    • 197 - secondary incision
    • 198 - primary incision
    • 199 - stimulation site
    • 200 - nerve


    [0033] Fig. 25
    • 210 - miniature implanted neurostimulator with hybrid telemetry
    • 211 - cell
    • 212 - microprocessor
    • 213 - giant magnetoresistance sensor
    • 214 - voltage converter/charger
    • 215 - supply filter capacitor
    • 216 - inductor
    • 217 - flyback diode
    • 218 - stimulation tank capacitor
    • 219 - charge balancing resistor
    • 220 - input protection diode
    • 221 - charge balancing capacitor
    • 222 - stimulation pulse MOSFET
    • 223 - attenuator
    • 224 - attenuator
    • 225 - attenuator
    • 226 - 32768 Hz crystal
    • 227 - hermetic feedthrough
    • 228 - RING connection
    • 229 - TIP connection
    • 275 - pull-up resistor


    [0034] Fig. 26
    • 230 - programmer-to-implant telemetry scheme
    • 231 - programmer transmit switch
    • 232 - snubber diode
    • 233 - electromagnet
    • 234 - skin barrier
    • 235 - giant magnetoresistance sensor


    [0035] Fig. 27
    • 240 - implant-to-programmer telemetry scheme
    • 241 - miniature implanted neurostimulator
    • 242 - skin barrier
    • 243 - programmer skin electrodes
    • 244 - amplifier/filter
    • 245 - detector


    [0036] Fig. 36
    • 250 - block diagram, programmer
    • 251 - battery
    • 252 - on/off switch
    • 253 - power supply
    • 254 - voltage monitor
    • 255 - microprocessor
    • 256 - oscillator
    • 257 - keyboard and display I/O
    • 258 - detector
    • 259 - amplifier/filter
    • 260 - electromagnet
    • 261 - snubber diode
    • 262 - programmer transmit switch
    • 263 - display LED
    • 264 - key switch
    • 265 - skin electrodes

    I. Miniature implanted neurostimulator



    [0037] An exemplary miniature implanted neurostimulator is shown in Fig. 1. The generator portion may be packaged in a cylindrical form, typically 1.0 cc in volume or less and no more than 6 to 7 mm in diameter. The generator (1) may comprise a primary cell (3), typically lithium CFx chemistry, an electronics compartment (4), an anchor (2), and a header (5). The outer shell is typically made from medical grade titanium or stainless steel, and the enclosure is typically hermetic. The electronics compartment (4) may contain a hermetic feedthrough (not shown) to allow the cathodic (TIP) connection to pass through the header (5). The outer surface of the enclosure may be electrically connected to the anodic connection (RING). The header is typically made from medical grade epoxy, PEEK, or one or more other medical grade biocompatible polymers.

    [0038] Flexible insulated lead wires (6) may connect the header (5) to the bipolar cuff electrode assembly (7). The flexible insulated lead wires are typically insulated with silicone rubber or polyurethane. The conductive wire material is typically MP35N and constructed as a multi-strand cable or multi-filar coil design for flexural strength. The bipolar cuff material is typically silicone rubber or polyurethane and the electrodes (8) and (9) are made from platinum or platinum iridium. The cuff electrode assembly encircles the nerve to stimulate. In this embodiment, the outer generator enclosure is coated with either silicone rubber, polyurethane, or Parylene. The outer enclosure (anode) may be electrically connected to the proximal cuff electrode (8) while the feedthrough connection (cathode) may connect to the distal cuff electrode (9). This configuration can prevent stimulating muscle adjacent to the outer enclosure.

    [0039] The anchor feature (2) shown in Figs. 1 through 4 is used to suture the stimulator to tissue or bone to prevent migration of the implanted neurostimulator.

    [0040] In some embodiments, a unipolar cuff electrode assembly may be used as shown in Fig. 2. The cuff electrode assembly (10) may contain only one distal electrode (11) connected to the cathodic connection (TIP). This electrode may be connected via a flexible insulated lead wire (6) to the feedthrough (not shown) through an insulating header (5). The outer enclosure of the generator (1) is typically not coated and can therefore serve as the anodic electrode (RING).

    [0041] In some embodiments, a unipolar rod electrode assembly (12) may be used as shown in Fig. 3. This electrode configuration may be placed adjacent to the intended nerve. The unipolar electrode assembly body is typically made from silicone rubber or polyurethane and the electrode made from platinum or platinum iridium. The generator (1) shown in Fig. 3 is similar to the generator (1) shown in Fig. 1. The outer enclosure may be un coated and can serve as the anodic (RING) electrode. The cathodic connection (TIP) may pass through the feedthrough (not shown), through an insulating header (5), may connect to the flexible insulated lead wire (6), and may ultimately connect to the distal electrode (13) by passing through an inductor (14). The inductor can serve as an RF trap for configurations where the telemetry scheme is RF rather than inductive. With RF telemetry, the RF energy may exit the electronic enclosure (4) via the same single feedthrough (not shown) used for the TIP connection. This can allow the proximal part of the lead wire to also act as an antenna while the inductor (14) prevents RF energy from reaching the distal electrode (13), preventing unintended current flow. If inductive telemetry is used, inductor (14) may not be required.

    [0042] In the embodiments shown by Figs. 1 to 3, the flexible insulated lead wire(s) are, for example, 2 to 4 cm in length, and can allow the distal electrode to be placed at the stimulated nerve site while allowing the generator to be located in comfortable position for the patient.

    [0043] In some embodiment, a bipolar rod electrode assembly may be used as shown in Fig. 4. The electrode assembly (15) may contain two electrodes, a proximal electrode (16) connected to the anodic connection (RING) and a distal electrode (17) connected to the cathodic connection (TIP). The can may be coated and the flexible lead wire assembly may contain at least two insulated wires for the anodic and cathodic connections.

    [0044] Although rod shaped electrodes are shown in Fig. 3 and 4 for the electrode assembly, the shape of the electrode assembly may take on other forms to optimize one or more of the following: performance of the electrode, mechanical stability of the electrode, comfort, and ease of installation.

    [0045] In the embodiments for the unipolar (Fig. 3) and bipolar (Fig. 4) rod electrode assembly, the preferred surgical procedure may create only one incision or puncture wound at the leg entry point and a blunt dissecting tool may be used to create a tunnel from the wound to the stimulation site. A pictorial diagram for this procedure is shown in Fig. 5. A small incision or puncture wound (22) may first be created in the leg. Then, a blunt dissection tool similar in diameter to the electrode diameter may be used to dissect a path for the electrode and flexible insulated wires (24). This tunnel may be made from the wound (22) to the intended stimulation site (21) adjacent to the nerve (26). Then, a larger dissection tool may be introduced into the same tunnel but only inserted a sufficient length to accommodate the miniature implanted neurostimulator body (23) as shown in Fig. 5. An example of the blunt dissection tool (30) is shown in Fig. 6. Each blunt dissection tool (30) may be made, for example, from a stainless steel rod (31) with the distal end shaped with a ball nose (radius of the tip equal to the ½ the diameter) and a plastic handle (32) on the other end. The rod may be, for example, malleable to create a curved path. It may also be preferred that the rod be visible under fluoroscopy to help position the distal electrode at the intended stimulation site, although ultrasound or other imaging is also foreseen. The incision site may then be closed.

    [0046] An exemplary alternative surgical procedure that may require only one incision is shown in Fig. 22. A small incision or puncture wound (182) may first be created in the leg. The incision may exposes the stimulation site (185) allowing for any of the electrode assembly embodiments to be placed next to the nerve (184). Using a blunt dissection tool (30), a tunnel can be created for the miniature implanted neurostimulator (183). To prevent migration of the generator, a different anchoring method may be used for this alternative procedure. Fig. 23 shows a miniature implanted neurostimulator with an alternative anchor (190). The anchor (192) may be constructed from silicone rubber and can allow the generator to be placed in the tunnel (183) shown in Fig. 22. The anchor (192) of Fig. 23 can prevent device migration. The incision site can then be closed.

    [0047] An exemplary alternate surgical procedure that may require two incisions is shown in Fig. 24. A primary incision or puncture wound (198) may first be created in the leg. The incision may expose the stimulation site (199) allowing for any of the electrode assembly embodiments to be placed next to the nerve (200). A secondary incision or puncture wound (197) may be created. Using a blunt dissection tool (30), a tunnel may be created between the two incision sites. The miniature implanted neurostimulator may then be inserted in the tunnel and the anchor mechanism (2) as shown in Figs. 1 through 4 may be sutured in place via access from the secondary incision (197). Both incision sites may then be closed.

    [0048] Fig. 7 shows a block diagram for the miniature implanted neurostimulator with inductive telemetry (35). The miniature implanted neurostimulator will typically be powered by a primary cell (36). This cell is typically lithium CFx but other chemistries are possible. A primary cell may be preferred due to the simplicity of the design, patient freedom from recharging, and high energy density. With a cell volume of approximately 0.75 cc, a cell capacity of approximately 230 mAH, for example, can be obtained with a lithium primary cell.

    [0049] Connected to the cell (36) may be a mixed signal ASIC (37). This ASIC is typically designed and fabricated using standard CMOS processes and can contain both digital and analog circuitry. Connected to the ASIC may be a small inductor (38) to provide bidirectional inductive telemetry with a programmer. The stimulator output is also shown exiting the ASIC and may be connected to a DC-blocking capacitor (39). This capacitor can ensure that a charge-balanced waveform is applied to the stimulating electrode, thus avoiding electrode corrosion issues.

    [0050] The DC-blocking capacitor (39) may connect through a hermetic feedthrough (40) to the TIP (41) connection (cathodic stimulator output). The hermetic feedthrough can protect the electronics compartment from the corrosive environment of the body. In preferred embodiments, a CFx cell (36) may be utilized. The cell housing may be made from titanium and can serve as the cell negative connection. As shown in Fig. 7, the cell negative connection may connect to the outer housing of the cell and can serve as the RING connection (anodic stimulator output) (42).

    [0051] Fig. 8 shows a block diagram for the miniature implanted neurostimulator with RF telemetry (45). Rather than using inductive telemetry, the ASIC can provide RF telemetry. The RF output of the ASIC can be coupled via RF coupling capacitor (43) to the TIP electrode connection (41). RF energy can then be coupled to the flexible insulated lead wire (not shown) which can acts as an antenna. Alternatively, the electronics housing case can be made from ceramic (to allow the passage of RF), and a RF magnetic loop antenna could be realized within the electronics compartment. Other components such as a quartz crystal and additional passive components to generate and store the stimulator tank voltage may be provided as well but are not shown for clarity. Also not shown are the passive components, filter and crystal which may be provded to implement a RF transceiver. Also not shown are addition sensors such as a GMR sensor which may be provided to disable therapy and prevent interactions with MRI. Nor is there shown an accelerometer to detect leg movements when required to delay therapy. Which such aforementioned components are not shown, one or more of the components may be provided in the implanted miniature neurostimulators described above and herein.

    [0052] An exemplary block diagram of the ASIC (50) is shown in Fig. 9. Power from a primary CFx cell can be supplied to the ASIC (50) through a charge and voltage monitor circuit (51). This circuit (51) can be responsible for monitoring the cell voltage and the total charge that has been withdrawn from the cell.

    [0053] The output of the charge and voltage monitor circuit may feed the regulator (52) and charge pump (53). The regulator (52) may regulate the cell voltage, typically 3 V from a CFx cell to a lower voltage such as 1.2 V, to power the remaining blocks of the system. The regulator (52) typically performs this down-conversion using a capacitive divider (not shown for clarity) to keep power supply efficiency high.

    [0054] The processor (54) may contains a microprocessor, typically an 8-bit or 16-bit core and may contain memory such as EEPROM, ROM, and static CMOS RAM provide storage for programs, programmable parameters, and diagnostic information. The processor may interface with the voltage and charge monitor circuit to provide a recommended replacement indicator for the physician. The processor may also control the charge pump circuit (53) and stimulation output circuit (55) and may communicate with the implant telemetry circuit (58). The processor may also interface to a 32K oscillator (56). This oscillator typically runs at 32768 Hz and may provide a clock reference for system functions. The oscillator may use an external quartz crystal (59) to provide accurate timing. The 32K oscillator may run continuously. A fast oscillator (57) may provide a clock to run the processor. This clock is usually 1 MHz or faster and may only be enabled when the processor is active. Bidirectional telemetry may be performed by an implant telemetry circuit (58). The implant telemetry circuit can typically interface with an inductor in the embodiments with inductive telemetry. In the embodiments with RF telemetry, a second ASIC reserved specifically for this function is typically required although a single ASIC design could be realized. With RF telemetry, a handful of passive components, a SAW filter, and an additional quartz crystal are typically required but are not shown for clarity.

    [0055] The stimulation voltage required for the miniature implanted neurostimulator may be generated by the charge pump block (53). The charge pump may take the cell voltage and may generate a regulated voltage for stimulation. This regulated voltage may be higher or lower than the cell voltage. Typically, this regulation may be performed using a capacitive charge pump configuration known to those skilled in the art. Two charge pump capacitors are shown (60, 61) although more may be required. The output of the charge pump circuit may connect to the stimulator output circuit (55).

    [0056] The stimulator output may generate either a constant voltage or constant current waveform for stimulation. The use of an external DC-blocking capacitor may ensure that the waveform is charge-balanced.

    [0057] Other functions in the block diagram such as band-gap voltage source, current bias generators, and interfaces to other sensors such as a GMR sensor or accelerometer are not shown for clarity. The miniature implanted neurostimulator may be made possible because of the relatively low duty-cycle required for a therapeutic benefit. PTNS stimulation typically occurs for 30 minutes every week. This can translate to a duty-cycle of 0.5/168 or approximately 0.3 %. Assuming a background current drain of 1 µA, a load resistance of 500 Q, a stimulation current of 10 mA, stimulation frequency of 20 Hz, stimulation pulse width of 200 µs and a cell capacity containing 230 mAH, for example, the miniature implanted neurostimulator will last more than 20 years.

    [0058] Because of the low duty-cycle requirement, the longevity of the system may be very sensitive to the background current drain. The low background current drain may be due to the fact that only the Q, V monitor circuit (51), 32 K oscillator (56) circuit, and implant telemetry circuit (58) are typically always active. All other blocks can be disabled, consuming only static leakage current. It is not unreasonable to assume the following quiescent current drain for each block:
    • ≤ 100 nA for the Q, V monitor circuit (51),
    • ≤ 250 nA for the 32 K oscillator circuit (56),
    • ≤ 500 nA for the implant telemetry circuit (58),
    • ≤ 100 nA for static CMOS leakage at 37°C.


    [0059] The total estimated background current may be 950 nA or less than 1 µA. It is not unreasonable to push these numbers down even further. With aggressive duty-cycling techniques the current drain for the Q, V monitor circuit and implant telemetry circuit could be reduced much further.

    [0060] Another consideration for the miniature implanted neurostimulator may be the peak current taken from the cell. For a CFx cell of this size, the cell internal resistance is typically on the order of several hundred ohms. Therefore, the peak current from each of the functional blocks described in Fig. 9 should not cause the terminal voltage of the cell to drop below the useful minimum voltage. For example, if the lowest terminal voltage that could power the system is 2.0 V, then for a typical cell voltage of 3 V at beginning of service and a recommended replacement voltage of 2.5 V, the total peak current from the cell shall not exceed (2.5 V - 2.0 V) / 300 ohm = 1.67 mA for all features in the device to work correctly at the recommended replacement time. The functional blocks which may require significant peak current from the cell are the following:
    • Charge pump. Delivering 10 mA at 20 Hz from a compliance of 5 V may require a capacitive multiplier circuit that doubles the cell voltage. During stimulation, the peak current from the cell may then be 10 mA 20 Hz 200 µs 2 = 80 µA, assuming 100% efficiency. Even at an efficiency of 20%, the peak current may only be 100 µA.
    • Implant telemetry. In the case of inductive telemetry, the peak current may be estimated to not exceed 200 µA during transmit. The receive current is typically not expected to exceed 50 µA. However, the use of MICS RF telemetry typically requires approximately 5 mA during either receive or transmit, thus exceeding the peak current requirements. To avoid this peak current, the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol combined with an external decoupling capacitor across the cell terminal can be sufficient to reduce the cell peak current to an acceptable value. For example, a typical BLE peak current profile suitable for use in a miniature implanted neurostimulator is:

      ∘ Pre-processing: 8 mA, 2 ms

      ∘ TX/RX: 15 mA, 1 ms

      ∘ Post-processing: 8 mA, 2 ms

      ∘ Sleep: 0.1 µA, 20 s

      This profile would yield an average current of less than 1 µA and, when combined with a decoupling capacitor across the cell of 100 µF, would only result a voltage drop of [(8mA 4 ms) + (15mA 1 ms)]/100 µF = 0.47 V, allowing RF communication at the recommended replacement time and still have the cell terminal voltage exceed the 2.0 V minimum.


    [0061] Although the processor block consumes 50 to 100 µA peak when active, this peak current may be supplied from a regulated supply with its own decoupling capacitor. The firmware design and capacitor size can be optimized to ensure that voltage drop in the regulated supply is on the order of tens of millivolts.

    [0062] Fig. 16 shows a state diagram for a low duty-cycle stimulator (125). Upon initialization, the stimulator can enter the IDLE state (126). After one week (128), the IDLE state can transition to the ENABLE STIM state (127). In this state, the miniature implanted neurostimulator can deliver pre-programmed neurostimulation therapy to the patient. After 30 minutes expires (129), the stimulator can transition back to the IDLE state (126).

    [0063] Fig. 17 shows a state diagram for a low duty-cycle stimulator with deferred therapy (130). In this embodiment, an accelerometer may be included in the miniature implanted neurostimulator to detect limb movement. Upon initialization, the stimulator may enter the IDLE state (131). After one week (134), the IDLE state may transition of the ENABLE STIM state (132). In this state, the miniature implanted neurostimulator can deliver pre-programmed neurostimulation therapy to the patient. If at any time during the therapy a leg movement is detected (137), the ENABLE STIM state can be exited to a 1 HR DELAY state. After 1 hour expires (136), simulation can be resumed by returning to the ENABLE STIM state (132). After 30 minutes of stimulation (135), the stimulator can transition back to IDLE state (131).

    [0064] In some embodiments, neurostimulation therapy could be delivered when the patient is sleeping. The miniature implanted neurostimulator could contain a real-time clock that is programmed by the physician to deliver therapy at a time likely to coincide with the patient's sleep habits.

    [0065] Although a miniature implanted neurostimulators that uses primary cell is described, a secondary (rechargeable) cell may be used in some embodiments.

    [0066] Because of the low duty-cycle requirement of the therapy (0.3%), other technologies that allow for an implanted electrode to delivery therapy from an external power source may be provided. Magnetic, ultrasonic and RF technologies potentially allow for an even smaller implanted device to be placed on or near the sacral nerve for the purposes of treating urinary or bowel incontinence. The smaller implanted device may even be delivered via a percutaneous needle delivery system. In these cases, an external device may be present and held in reasonable proximity to the implanted device to allow the transfer of energy.

    II. Programmer



    [0067] An exemplary external programmer is shown in Fig. 10. Fig. 10 shows a cuff-like housing that can encircle the limb containing the miniature implanted neurostimulator. The limb wand (65) shown by Fig. 10 may comprise a wand main housing (66) and a flexible strap (67). The housing and strap may implement a toroidal coil configuration that encircles the limb, such that its magnetic field can align with the magnetic field of the implanted neurostimulator's telemetry inductor, which can also align with the long axis of the neurostimulator. The strap (67) may contain ferrite material to form a highly permeable magnetic path completely encircling a limb. Aligning the magnetic fields of both the implanted neurostimulator and limb wand (65) can provide optimal coupling and can result in more reliable communication without the troublesome need to position the wand as in inductive telemetry systems.

    [0068] As shown in Fig. 11, an exemplary limb wand (70) may completely encircle the patient's leg. The programmer's telemetry coil (not shown), contained inside the housing (71), can completely encircle the leg and can avoid the flexible strap. The limb wand (70) must be placed over the patient's foot and ankle before it is positioned along the leg and in proximity to the miniature implanted neurostimulator.

    [0069] The limb wands (65, 70) shown in Figs. 10 or 11 may contain the inductive communications circuitry needed to communicate with the miniature implanted neurostimulator and may also contain additional RF circuitry to relay the bi-directional communication with the implant to a smart phone, desktop, laptop or tablet computer via Bluetooth low energy or equivalent. The limb wand can be completely self-contained and may act as a relay such that an ordinary smart phone communicates with the inductive-telemetry-based miniature implanted neurostimulator via the limb wand.

    [0070] The block diagram (110) for such relay embodiments is shown in Fig. 15. The limb wand may contain a battery (118) connected via an on/off switch (119) to a power supply (111). A processor (113) may contain an 8, 16, or 32-bit microprocessor and memory such as EEPROM, ROM, and static CMOS RAM to provide storage for programs. An oscillator (116) is may be connected to the processor (113) to provide a system clock.

    [0071] The processor (113) may communicate with an implant telemetry block (115) containing circuitry to communicate with the miniature implanted neurostimulator. The output of the implant telemetry block may connect to an inductor (121). The processor (113) may also communicate with an RF telemetry block (114) to communicate with a smart phone (114). The output of the RF telemetry block may connect to an RF antenna (120). The antenna may be an electric field or magnetic field antenna and the RF telemetry system may contain more than one antenna for the purpose of implementing diversity.

    [0072] The processor (113) may also communicate with a keyboard and display block (117) to provide I/O. An example of one display LED (122) and one key input (123) is shown in Fig. 15 although more may be provided. Although an LED implementation is shown in Fig. 13, LCD or other technology could also be used.

    [0073] The processor (113) in the limb wand may also connect to monitor the battery voltage (112) and can provide an indicator to the physician that the internal battery needs to be replaced in the case of primary cells, or to indicate that the internal battery needs recharging in the case of secondary cells.

    [0074] An audible feedback transducer may be anticipated for the programmer but the implementation is not shown.

    [0075] Fig. 21 shows an exemplary smartphone programmer system (170) working with the patient's leg (171). The system (170) may comprise the miniature implanted neurostimulator (172), the limb wand (174), and the smartphone programmer (173). The smartphone (173) may be used as the programmer, and communications with an inductive based miniature implanted neurostimulator can occur through the limb wand (174) that can act as a relay to allow the RF based smartphone (173) to communicate with the inductive based miniature implanted neurostimulator.

    [0076] Fig. 12 shows another exemplary external programmer (75). Here, the key input and display output (77) may be integrated into the torso programmer (75). The programmer main housing (76) is shown along with the flexible strap (78). Just as in the limb wand, the torso programmer (75) can allow the alignment of the programmer and miniature implanted neurostimulator for more reliable communication when an inductive telemetry scheme is used.

    [0077] Fig. 13 shows another exemplary external programmer (80). Here, the programmer (80) may contain electronics to receive input and display output (84) such that the user can program and interrogate the miniature implanted neurostimulator. Additionally, the programmer may incorporate a neurostimulator generator for delivering PTNS therapy during an evaluation phase that may be required before a patient is implanted with a device. The programmer (80) may communicate with the implant via RF telemetry such as that shown and described above with reference to Figs. 3 or 4, or the programmer may connect to a limb wand such as that shown and described above with reference to Fig. 10 via RF or a cable (81) (connection not shown in Fig. 10).

    [0078] This programmer/neurostimulator (80) can provide a TIP (82) and RING (83) connection that may be connected to a transcutaneous needle and adhesive patch electrode respectively for the purpose of demonstrating the efficacy of the neurostimulation therapy.

    [0079] The block diagram for a programmer with integrated PTNS generator (85) is shown in Fig. 14. The programmer (85) may contains a battery (95) connected via an on/off switch (96) to a power supply (86) to provide a regulated voltage. A processor (90) may contain an 8, 16 or 32-bit microprocessor and memory such as EEPROM, ROM and static CMOS RAM to provide storage for programs. An oscillator (91) can be used to provide a system clock. A real-time clock (92) may also be provided to allow real-time events to be programmed in the miniature implanted neurostimulator.

    [0080] The processor (90) may communicate with an implant telemetry block (93) containing circuitry to communicate with the miniature implanted neurostimulator. This implant telemetry block may connect to an inductor for communication with an inductive based miniature implanted neurostimulator. In the case of an RF based miniature implanted neurostimulator, the implant telemetry circuitry may contain an RF transceiver and may connect to one or more RF antennas. Alternatively, the implant telemetry circuitry may provide for a hardwire connection to the limb wand.

    [0081] The processor (90) may also control the charge pump (87) and stimulator output circuitry (89). The charge pump may take the regulated voltage from the power supply (86) and may generate a regulated voltage used for stimulation. Typically, this regulation may be performed using a capacitive charge pump configuration known to those skilled in the art. Two charge pump capacitors are shown (97, 98), although more may be required. The output of the charge pump circuit may connect to the stimulator output circuit (89).

    [0082] The processor (90) may also control the stimulation output circuitry (89). The stimulator output may generate either a constant voltage or constant current waveform for stimulation. The use of a DC-blocking capacitor (99) can ensure that the waveform is charge-balanced.

    [0083] The processor may monitor the battery voltage (88) to provide an indicator to the physician that the internal battery needs to be replaced in the case of primary cells or indicate that the internal battery needs recharging in the case of secondary cells. The processor (90) may also communicate with the keyboard and display circuitry (94) to provide I/O. An example of one display LED (103) and one key input (104) is shown in Fig. 14, although more may be provided. Although an LED implementation is shown in Fig. 14, LCD or other technology could also be used.

    III. Key fob



    [0084] An RF-based miniature implanted neurostimulator can also be activated by a patient operated key fob (140) as shown in Fig. 18. The key fob (140) may comprise a housing (141), a key (144) that the patient presses to activate the key fob action, an LED to indicate that the key fob is active (142), and an LED to indicate when the key fob battery must be replaced (143). The LED indicating that the key fob is active (142) may be enabled when the key (144) is pressed, or may be enabled only when the key (144) is pressed and the key fob has confirmed that the miniature implanted neurostimulator has received the key fob command. The key fob may choose to distinguish between a single click, delayed hold, and a double click to send unique commands, or additional keys may be included on the key fob for unique commands.

    [0085] Activation of the key fob by the patient may result in a pre-programmed command to be executed by the miniature implanted neurostimulation. Commands may be selected and modified by the physician using the programmer. More than one command may be available to be executed by the miniature implanted neurostimulator.

    [0086] An exemplary block diagram for the patient key fob (140) is shown in Fig. 19. The key fob (140) may contain a battery (157) connected via an on/off switch (158) to a power supply (151) to provide a regulated voltage. A processor (153) may contain an 8, 16, or 32-bit microprocessor and memory such as EEPROM, ROM and static CMOS RAM to provide storage for programs. An oscillator (155) may be used to provide a system clock.

    [0087] The processor (153) may communicate with an RF telemetry circuit (154) containing circuitry to communicate with an RF based miniature implanted neurostimulator. The RF telemetry block (154) may connect to an RF antenna (159).

    [0088] The processor (153) may monitor the battery voltage (152) to provide an indicator to the user than the internal battery needs to be replaced in the case or primary cells or indicate that the internal battery needs recharging in the case of secondary cells. The processor (153) can also communicate with a display driver (156) to illuminate one or more LEDs to indicate low-battery or that the transmitter is active. Only one LED (160) is shown in Fig. 19; however, more than one may be implemented.

    [0089] An audible feedback transducer may be provided for the key fob, but the implementation is not shown. In other embodiments, the dedicated key fob is replaced by a smartphone. In this case, the RF standard used by the smartphone and the miniature implanted neurostimulator may be compatible such as with BLE.

    [0090] The smart phone/key fob system is shown in Fig. 20. The human leg (166) and miniature implanted neurostimulator (167) and the patient activated key fob or smart phone (168) are illustrated. Either the key fob or smartphone can communicate directly with the miniature implanted neurostimulator via RF.

    IV. Hybrid telemetry



    [0091] As discussed above and herein, both RF and inductive telemetry schemes can be provided for the miniature implanted neurostimulator. In some embodiments, a hybrid scheme can be provided. The hybrid scheme can provide for programmer-to-implant (P-to-I) communication to occur via magnetic fields while implant-to-programmer (I-to-P) communication occurs via conductive telemetry. An advantage of such a system is that bidirectional telemetry can be performed using a minimum number of components in the implant. For example, the I-to-P communications channel may start with a transmitter in the implant that reuses the same hardware and electrodes as used for neurostimulation and the P-to-I communications channel implant receiver can use a GMR sensor that occupies an area of only 1.1 mm by 1.1 mm. This configuration can provide a simple and compact embodiment for bidirectional telemetry in an implanted neurostimulator.

    [0092] An exemplary block diagram for the miniature implanted neurostimulator that supports this hybrid telemetry scheme is shown in Fig. 25. The cell (211) can power a microprocessor (212). Internal to the microprocessor is typically a high frequency oscillator, typically 0.5 to 8 MHz, to clock the internal core; however, an external 32K (32768 Hz) crystal (226) is shown, which may provide a real-time clock to determine stimulation pulse width and periods accurately. A voltage converter/charger (214) is shown, which may convert the cell voltage to a higher voltage for stimulation. The charger (214) is typically a boost regulator that uses an inductor (216) to store energy when the SW terminal of (214) is connected to ground. The voltage can be boosted when the SW terminal is released from ground and the stored energy is released from the inductor and passes through the flyback diode (217), transferring the energy to the stimulation tank capacitor (218). The microprocessor (212) can provide a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) connected to the signal, TARGET. The resistor network (223, 224 and 225) may form an attenuator network providing a feedback signal (FB) to the charger. The feedback signal may typically be compared to an internal reference voltage to regulate the voltage on the stimulation tank capacitor (218). By varying the DAC voltage on TARGET, the stimulation voltage can typically be set anywhere from 10 V to the cell voltage minus a diode drop. The microprocessor (212) can disable the voltage converter/charger to conserve energy by de-asserting the EN signal. The miniature implanted neurostimulator may provide stimulation by asserting the STIM signal from the microprocessor and closing the stimulation pulse MOSFET switch (222). When the switch is closed, a monophasic truncated exponential pulse can be applied between the TIP (229) and RING (228) terminals. The stimulation pulse current can flow through a charge balancing capacitor (221) that accumulates charge during the stimulation pulse. Following stimulation, the charge stored on the charge balancing capacitor can be discharged back through the RING and TIP via resistor (219). Diode (220) can provide protection against electrosurgery and other external influences that could affect the integrity of the system. A giant magnetoresistance sensor (GMR) may connect to the microprocessor providing a signal, MAG_DET_B, when an external magnetic field is detected. The sensor can be enabled by asserting the GMR EN signal. Pull-up resistor (275) may keep the open-collector output of the sensor de-asserted.

    [0093] I-to-P communication can occur via conducted communications using the identical circuitry to create stimulation pulses between the RING and TIP electrodes. Information can be sent by the implantable stimulator by applying short (typically 10 to 15 µs) pulses between the TIP and RING terminals such that the stimulation pulses are sub-threshold and have no therapeutic value. The electric field generated between the TIP and RING terminals can then be detected on the skin surface by the programmer and decoded for use in an I-to-P communication channel. In this example, the implant has two electrodes, but alternative embodiments with more than two electrodes could also be used.

    [0094] Fig. 27 illustrates I-to-P communication. The miniature implanted neurostimulator (241) is shown with TIP and RING electrode connections. The skin barrier (242) is shown to highlight that the programmer skin electrodes can pick-up a far-field signal generated by the TIP and RING electrodes, and that I-to-P communications can occur wirelessly from implant to programmer, albeit with the use of electrodes placed on the surface of the skin. Fig. 27 shows an amplifier/filter (244) connected to the programmer skin electrodes. In this example, the programmer uses two skin electrodes, but alternative embodiments with more than two skin electrodes could also be used. For example, the programmer could automatically select the electrode configuration that provides the optimal signal strength or signal to noise ratio.

    [0095] The output of the amplifier/filter may connect to a detector (245), whose output is a decoded signal, RX DATA. The detector could be a simple comparator whose output is asserted when the signal exceeds a predetermined threshold. Fig. 27 shows a simplified example of the basic signal processing that can be used to decode the I-to-P signal. This processing could be performed using analog circuitry, digital circuitry, software, or a combination thereof. The amplifier/filter (244) can also contain input protection circuitry (not shown).

    [0096] Stimulation at approximately 2.5 V by the implant will result in a millivolt level signal appearing on the skin surface. Therefore, a gain of approximately 3000 may be required for the amplification shown by Fig. 27. Although more sophisticated filter approaches can be applied either in the analog or digital domains, a simple band-pass filter, with a low-pass corner set to acquire 90% of the pulse amplitude within the first 10% of the pulse duration, assuming a 10 µs pulse, can give a low-pass corner of 300 kHz. The high-pass corner may be set with the longer 15 µs pulse such that the pulse sags only 1/3rd, resulting in a high-pass corner of 10 kHz.

    [0097] P-to-I communication can occur via magnetic fields generated by the programmer. Modulation of magnetic fields by the programmer, for example, by the use of an electromagnet, may be detected in the implantable stimulator by the GMR sensor, creating a P-to-I communications channel. Fig. 26 illustrates P-to-I communication. The programmer hardware may generate a data signal, TX_DATA, which may enable a programmer transmit switch (231) and may energize an electromagnetic (233). Flyback diode (232) may act as a snubber, protecting the programmer switch (231). The skin barrier (242) is shown in Fig. 26 to highlight that the external electromagnet and GMR sensor may be separated by a short distance, typically 2 to 10 cm, and that P-to-I communication may occur wirelessly from programmer to implant. Fig. 26 also identifies the GMR sensor located in the miniature implantable neurostimulator. The output of the GMR sensor, MAG_DET_B, can convey the information sent by the signal TX DATA.

    [0098] In an example, the electromagnet may comprise a soft-iron core solenoid, where the cross-section of the core is 0.8 cm2 in diameter, 14 cm in length with an air gap of 4 cm. With a relative permeability of iron equal to 200, the reluctance of the core may be approximately 6.1 (1/µH) and the reluctance of the air gap may be approximately 354 (1/µH). For a coil with 300 turns on the iron core with a peak current of 3 A, the resulting magnetomotive force, F, may be equal to 900 Wb/H. The total flux, ϕ, can be given by F/R, where R is the reluctance of the iron core and the air gap combined. The total flux may be 2.5 µWb. The flux density in air may be given by the relationship, B = ϕ/RAIR, which may give a flux density in air of approximately 28 mT. The GMR sensor used may be, for example, a BD927-14E, manufactured by NVE Corporation, Eden Prairie MN. This sensor has a typical operating point of 15 Oersteds, which corresponds to 1.5 mT. The flux density across the air gap of the electromagnet may be sufficient to trigger the GMR, even at the location of the implant, which is off-axis with respect to the magnet's air gap.

    [0099] The sensor may have a typical quiescent current drain at 2.4 V equal to 75 µA. To conserve energy, the microprocessor (212) in the Fig. 25 block diagram may enable the sensor only at infrequent intervals. However, since the GMR sensor may be enabled for a relatively short period, the programmer may not know when the GMR sensor is active. To solve this, the implant may provide a synchronization pulse to the programmer, letting the programmer know when to enable the electromagnet and send information back to the programmer. This process is first demonstrated in Fig. 28. Here, the miniature implantable neurostimulator can send a subthreshold pulse between the RING and TIP electrodes with a pulse width of 10 µs. This short pulse may be sent every 10 seconds by the implant during periods that are otherwise inactive. The amplitude of the pulse is typically the cell voltage minus one diode drop. The implant can enable the GMR sensor following each short pulse, looking for confirmation that a programmer is present.

    [0100] If no programmer is present, the implant may simply continue sending short pulses every 10 seconds between the RING and TIP. The energy consumed during this short pulse and the energy consumed by enabling the GMR sensor relatively infrequently may be negligible.

    [0101] However, when a programmer is present, e.g., when skin electrodes are connected to the limb near the implant site and the programmer wand is positioned close to the implant, the programmer may detect the short pulses. Therefore, the programmer can enable the programmer's electromagnet when the implant's GMR sensor is active. In this way, a link can be established between the programmer and implant. When the implant detects a magnetic pulse using the GMR sensor, the implant can send short pulses between the RING and TIP every 50 ms. In this way, data throughput in both directions can be increased. Fig. 29 shows the miniature implanted neurostimulator sending short pulses (10 µs) between RING and TIP but at a rate of 20 Hz. The implant may also enable the GMR sensor following each short pulse to look for data being sent from the programmer via an electromagnet.

    [0102] Communication can also occur while the miniature implanted neurostimulator is delivering therapy. An example of this is shown in Fig. 30. The RING - TIP signal may show short 10 µs pulses occurring every 50 ms. After each short pulse, a longer, therapeutic stimulation pulse with a duration of 200 µs may occur. The programmer can distinguish the short, subthreshold pulses from the longer therapeutic pulses.

    [0103] An example of I-to-P data communication is shown in Fig. 31. Fig 31 shows a data "1" identified as a short 10 µs pulse, while a data "0" is identified as a longer, 15 µs, but still subthreshold, pulse absent by the implant. The programmer may receive this signal via two or more skin electrodes and amplifies and filters this signal. The received signal before detection is shown as the signal RX. The detector and associated processing circuitry and/or software can distinguish short (10 µs) pulses from long (15 µs) pulses and outputs a "1" following each short pulse and a "0" following a long pulse. The RX_DATA signal in Fig. 31 illustrates this.

    [0104] An example of I-to-P data communication during neurostimulation therapy is shown in Fig. 32. Fig. 32 shows a data "1" identified as a short 10 µs pulse, followed by a 200 µs therapeutic pulse. After the first 50 ms, it shows a data "0" identified as a longer 15 µs pulse again followed by a 200 µs pulse. After amplification and filtering, the programmer may provide the RX signal as a faithful reproduction of the implant-generated waveform. The detector and associated processing circuitry and/or software may distinguish short (10 µs) from long (15 µs) pulses and may be refractory to even longer (200 µs) therapeutic pulses. The RX_DATA signal in Fig. 32 illustrates this concept.

    [0105] An example of P-to-I data communication is shown in Fig. 33. Fig. 33 shows three short (10 µs) synchronization pulses send by the implant. When the implant is expecting to receive data, the GMR sensor may be activated following each synchronization pulse. The programmer can then send data at the correct time for detection by the implant. An example of this is shown by the signal TX_DATA in Fig. 33. The programmer may send a data "0" following the first pulse (a) by asserting TX_DATA, may send a data "1" by not asserting TX_DATA following the second pulse (b), and may send another data "0" following the third pulse (c) by asserting TX_DATA. The received electromagnetic signal, MAG_DET is shown. The microprocessor may acknowledge a data "0" following the assertion of the MAG_DET_B signal after the first pulse. Since no assertion of MAG_DET_B occurred following the second pulse, the microprocessor may interpret this as a data "1" and so on.

    [0106] An example of P-to-I data communication during neurostimulation therapy is shown in Fig. 34. Fig. 34 shows a short (10 µs) synchronization pulse followed by a 200 µs therapeutic pulse. After 50 ms, it shows another short synchronization pulse followed by another therapeutic pulse. After the first synchronization pulse, the programmer may send a data "0" by asserting TX_DATA. After the second synchronization pulse, the programmer may send a data "1" by not asserting TX DATA. The received electromagnetic signal, MAG_DET_B is shown. Since the programmer's detector and associated processing circuitry and/or software may distinguishe short synchronization pulses from long therapeutic pulses, the programmer may assert TX_DATA following each synchronization pulse when a data "0" is required and may not assert TX_DATA following synchronization pulses when a data "1" is required.

    [0107] In this example, only one symbol is sent per bit. Therefore, the symbol rate and data rate may be equal and set to 20 Hz. This data rate was chosen to coincide with the stimulation frequency, greatly simplifying the transmission and reception of data. However, the number of symbols per bit could be increased with different modulation schemes and the rate could be increased beyond the stimulation frequency with added complexity.

    [0108] An exemplary method to decode the data streams received by the implant and by the programmer may be to format the data in non-return-to-zero (NRZ) serial format and use a serial universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter (UART). An example of this is shown in Fig. 35. When used with a serial UART, NRZ data format follows the convention of sending a start bit, followed typically by 8 data bits, starting from LSB (D0) to MSB (D7), followed by a at least one stop bit. Often the format may provide an additional parity bit. This example may use one start bit, one stop bit and no parity bit, as seen by trace a) in Fig. 33. In the first example, I-to-P data communication is shown in traces b and c. Trace b) shows short (10 µs) pulses to indicate a data "1" and long (15 µs) pulses to indicate a data "0". Typically, a data "1" would be sent prior to the transmission of the start bit. The first occurrence of a data "0" (long, 15 µs pulse) may indicate the start bit. The programmer may receive and interpret the implant signal by generating RX_DATA as seen in trace c). The data byte received by the programmer may be decoded as 0xA5. In the second example, P-to-I data communication is shown in traces d), e), and f). Trace d) shows short (10 µs) synchronization pulses send by the implant. Trace e) shows TX_DATA, where data "0s" are occasionally sent following a synchronization pulse. In this example, a data "0" is sent following the synchronization pulses for the start bit, bits D1, D3, D4, and D6. The received electromagnetic signal may be captured by the GMR detector and shown in trace f, signal MAG_DET_B. The data byte received by the implant may be decoded as 0xA5.

    [0109] This example describes half-duplex communication, where I-to-P or P-to-I communication may be mutually exclusive. Because the communication methods used in the physical layer may be independent, electromagnetic in the case of P-to-I and conducted in the case of I-to-P, full-duplex communication can be easily achieved. The programmer may be able to synchronize not only to short (10 µs) pulses identified as a data "1" for I to P communication but also to synchronize to long (15 µs) pulsed identified as a data "0" for I to P communication.

    [0110] This example describes only the physical layer and a rudimentary data link layer typical of an ISO network protocol. The remaining layers are contemplated but not described here. Typically, an end-to-end protocol is implemented, complete with checks to ensure data integrity and enhancements to provide communications in the presence of noise.

    [0111] Embodiments provide for a programmer implemented in various physical embodiments. In some embodiments, all the elements required for programmer operation are contained in a single housing. In some embodiments, some of the elements are contained in a first housing and other elements are contained in a second housing intended for placement near the implant, called a "wand". In some embodiments, the two housings may be connected by a cable or by wireless means. In some embodiments, a third housing contains a power supply. For convenience the following description refers to the ensemble of elements as a "programmer/wand".

    [0112] The programmer/wand block diagram is shown in Fig. 36. In this example, the programmer/wand comprises a battery (251) connected via an on/off switch (252) to a power supply (253). A processor (255) comprises an 8-bit, 16 or 32-bit microprocessor and memory such as EEPROM, ROM and static CMOS RAM to provide storage for programs. An oscillator (256) is shown connected to the processor to provide a system clock.

    [0113] The processor may send information to the implant by asserting TX DATA and driving the electromagnetic assembly composed of switch (262), electromagnet (260), and snubber diode (261). The microprocessor may receive information from the implant by detecting conducted telemetry signals on the skin electrodes (265) connected to the amplifier/filter (259), detecting these signals (258) and decoding the RX_DATA signal.

    [0114] The processor may also communicate with a keyboard and display block (257) to provide user input/output (I/O). An example of one output LED (263) and one input key (264) is shown although more may be provided. Although an LED implementation is shown, LCD or other technology could also be used.

    [0115] The programmer/wand also may not contain a keyboard and display unit but rather provide a USB connection or Bluetooth connection to a tablet where the keyboard and display unit may reside.

    [0116] The processor in the limb wand may also connect to monitor the battery voltage (254) and may provide an indicator to the physician that the internal battery needs to be replaced in the case of primary cells, or to indicate that the internal battery needs recharging in the case of secondary cells.

    [0117] An audible feedback transducer may be provided for the programmer.

    [0118] While preferred embodiments of the present disclosure have been shown and described herein, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that such embodiments are provided by way of example only. Numerous variations, changes, and substitutions will now occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the invention. It should be understood that various alternatives to the embodiments of the present disclosure described herein may be employed in practicing the inventions of the present disclosure. It is intended that the following claims define the scope of the invention and that methods and structures within the scope of these claims and their equivalents be covered thereby.


    Claims

    1. An implantable device (1) for permanent implantation in a body of a subject for long-term use to stimulate tissue to improve urinary or bowel function in the subject, the device comprising:

    an enclosure (3,4) configured to be implanted in a body of a subject;

    circuitry (51-63) disposed within the enclosure, the circuitry being configured to generate a stimulation signal with a low duty cycle of between 0.1% and 2.5% and a low background current drain of between 0.1 µA and 5 µA;

    a primary battery (36) disposed within the enclosure and coupled to the circuitry, the battery providing power to the circuitry to generate the stimulation signal; and

    an electrode assembly (7) coupled to the enclosure and the circuitry, the electrode assembly configured to direct the generated stimulation signal to the tissue of the subject;

    wherein a total volume of the implantable device (1) is in a range between 1.9 cc and 0.1 cc and

    wherein the low duty cycle and low current drain of the generated stimulation signal combine to provide a useful life of the primary battery (36) of the implantable device (1) implanted in the body of at least 5 years without removal from the body.


     
    2. The implantable device of claim 1, further comprising a lead (6) coupling the electrode assembly (7) to the enclosure (3,4) and separating at least a portion of the electrode assembly from the enclosure.
     
    3. The implantable device of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the useful life of the primary battery (36) of the implantable device is in a range of between 5 and 35 years, 6 and 34 years, 7 and 33 years, 8 and 32 years, 9 and 31 years, 10 and 30 years, 11 and 29 years, 12 and 28 years, 13 and 27 years, 14 and 26 years, 15 and 25 years, 16 and 24 years, 17 and 23 years, 18 and 22 years, or 19 and 21 years.
     
    4. The implantable device of any of claims 1 to 3, wherein

    i) the duty cycle of the stimulation signal is in a range of between 2.4% and 0.1%, 2.3% and 0.1%, 2.2% and 0.1%, 2.1% and 0.1%, 2.0% and 0.1%, 1.9% and 0.1%, 1.8% and 0.1%, 1.7% and 0.1%, 1.6% and 0.1%, 1.5% and 0.1%, 1.4% and 0.1%, 1.3% and 0.1%, 1.2% and 0.1%, 1.1% and 0.1%, 1.0% and 0.1%, 0.9% and 0.1%, 0.8% and 0.1%, 0.7% and 0.1%, 0.6% and 0.1%, 0.5% and 0.1%, 0.4% and 0.1%, 0.3% and 0.1%, or 0.2% and 0.1%; and/or

    ii) the circuitry (51-63) is configured to generate the stimulation signal for about 30 minutes once a week.


     
    5. The implantable device of any of claims 1 to 4, wherein the background current drain is in a range of between 4.5 µA and 0.10 µA, 4.0 µA and 0.10 µA, 3.5 µA and 0.10 µA, 3.0 µA and 0.10 µA, 2.5 µA and 0.10 µA, 2.0 µA and 0.10 µA, 1.5 µA and 0.10 µA, 1.0 µA and 0.10 µA, 0.9 µA and 0.10 µA, 0.8 µA and 0.10 µA, 0.7 µA and 0.10 µA, 0.6 µA and 0.10 µA, 0.5 µA and 0.10 µA, 0.4 µA and 0.10 µA, 0.3 µA and 0.10 µA, or 0.2 µA and 0.1 µA.
     
    6. The implantable device of any of claim 1 to 5, wherein the generated stimulation signal has

    i) a stimulation current in a range of between 19 mA and 1 mA, 18 mA and 2 mA, 17 mA and 3 mA, 16 mA and 4 mA, 15 mA and 5 mA, 14 mA and 6 mA, 13 mA and 7 mA, 12 mA and 8 mA, or 11 mA and 9 mA;

    ii) a stimulation frequency in a range between 30 Hz and 10 Hz, 29 Hz and 11 Hz, 28 Hz and 12 Hz, 27 Hz and 13 Hz, 26 Hz and 14 Hz, 25 Hz and 15 Hz, 24 Hz and 16 Hz, 23 Hz and 17 Hz, 22 Hz and 18 Hz, or 21 Hz and 19 Hz; and/or

    iii) a stimulation pulse width in a range of between 300 µs and 100 µs, 290 µs and 110 µs, 280 µs and 120 µs, 270 µs and 130 µs, 260 µs and 140 µs, 250 µs and 150 µs, 240 µs and 160 µs, 230 µs and 170 µs, 220 µs and 180 µs, or 210 µs and 190 µs.


     
    7. The implantable device of claim 1, wherein the primary battery (36) has a capacity in a range between 360 mAH and 100mAH, 350 mAH and 110 mAH, 340 mAH and 120 mAH, 330 mAH and 130 mAH, 320 mAH and 140 mAH, 310 mAH and 150 mAH, 300 mAH and 160 mAH, 290 mAH and 170 mAH, 280 mAH and 180 mAH, 270 mAH and 190 mAH, 260 mAH and 200 mAH, 250 mAH and 210 mAH, or 240 mAH and 220 mAH.
     
    8. The implantable device of any of claims 1 to 7, wherein a total volume of the implantable device (1) is in a range between 1.8 cc and 0.2 cc, 1.7 cc and 0.3 cc, 1.6 cc and 0.4 cc, 1.5 cc and 0.5 cc, 1.4 cc and 0.6 cc, 1.3 cc and 0.7 cc, 1.2 cc and 0.8 cc, or 1.1 cc and 0.9 cc.
     
    9. The implantable device of any of claims 1 to 8, wherein the electrode assembly (7) is separated from the enclosure (3,4) by the lead (6) by a distance in a range between 15 cm and 0.1 mm, 14 cm and 0.1 mm, 13 cm and 0.1 mm, 12 cm and 0.1 mm, 11 cm and 0.1 mm, 10 cm and 0.1 mm, 9 cm and 0.1 mm, 8 cm and 0.1 mm, 7 cm and 0.1 mm, 6 cm and 0.1 mm, 5 cm and 0.1 mm, 4 cm and 0.1 mm, 3 cm and 0.1 mm, 2 cm and 0.1 mm, or 1 cm and 0.1 mm.
     
    10. The implantable device of any of claims 1 to 9, wherein the battery comprises a primary battery, or a rechargeable battery, optionally wherein the rechargeable battery is rechargeable wirelessly.
     
    11. The implantable device of any of claims 1 to 10, wherein the enclosure comprises a fixation element (2) to anchor into the tissue, thereby reducing migration of the implantable device (1) during long-term use in the subject, preferably wherein the fixation element comprises a hook, a pin, a screw, a pigtail screw, a ring, a grasper, a suture, a tine, or a cuff.
     
    12. The implantable device of any of claims 1 to 11, wherein at least a portion of the electrode assembly (7) is configured for placement adjacent a nerve of the subject.
     
    13. The implantable device of any of claims 1 to 12, wherein the electrode assembly (7) comprises a fixation element, thereby reducing migration of the implantable device during long-term use in the subject, preferably wherein the fixation element comprises a hook, a pin, a screw, a pigtail screw, a ring, a grasper, a suture, a tine, or a cuff.
     
    14. The implantable device of any of claims 1 to 13, wherein the circuitry comprises a wireless communication transceiver (58) configured to wirelessly communicate with an external programmer, and optionally wherein:

    i) the wireless communication transceiver (58) of the circuitry is configured to receive instructions from the external programmer to one or more of activate, schedule, modify, modulate, monitor, or end a therapeutic protocol; and/or

    ii) the wireless communication transceiver communicates with the external programmer through a Bluetooth connection, a Bluetooth LE connection, a Zigbee connection, a Wi-Fi connection, an IR connection, an RF connection, an ultrasound-based connection, a WiMax connection, an ISM connection, an AM connection, an FM connection, a conductive connection, or a magnetic connection, preferably wherein the wireless communication transceiver of the circuitry communicates with the external programmer through a conductive connection, and the wireless communication transceiver is configured to generate a communication signal received by the external programmer, the communication signal being one or more of below a threshold stimulation pulse amplitude, below a threshold stimulation pulse duration, or during a refractory period of a nerve.


     
    15. The implantable device of any of claims 1 to 14, wherein the circuitry comprises a magnetic field sensor configured to detect a magnetic field, and optionally wherein the circuitry is configured to disable, postpone, or otherwise modify a therapeutic protocol of the implantable device (1) in response to the detected magnetic field, preferably wherein the detected magnetic field is generated from an external programmer to communicate with the circuitry of the implant, and further preferably wherein the magnetic field sensor comprises a giant magnetoresistance (GMR) switch.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Implantierbare Vorrichtung (1) zur dauerhaften Implantation in einem Körper eines Subjekts für einen langfristigen Einsatz zur Gewebestimulation, um die Harnblasen- oder Darmfunktion in dem Subjekt zu verbessern, wobei die Vorrichtung folgendes umfasst:

    eine Einfassung (3, 4), die für eine Implantation in einem Körper eines Subjekts gestaltet ist;

    eine Schaltkreisanordnung (51-63), die sich in der Einfassung befindet, wobei die Schaltkreisanordnung so gestaltet ist, dass sie ein Stimulationssignal mit einem niedrigen Arbeitszyklus zwischen 0,1 % und 2,5 % erzeugt und mit einer geringen Stromaufnahme im Hintergrund von zwischen 0,1 µA und 5 µA;

    eine Primärbatterie (36), die sich in der Einfassung befindet und mit der Schaltkreisanordnung gekoppelt ist, wobei die Batterie Leistung an die Schaltkreisanordnung zur Erzeugung des Stimulationssignals bereitstellt; und

    eine Elektrodeneinheit (7), die mit der Einfassung und der Schaltkreisanordnung gekoppelt ist, wobei die Elektrodeneinheit so gestaltet ist, dass sie das erzeugte Stimulationssignal zu dem Gewebe des Subjekts leitet;

    wobei ein Gesamtvolumen der implantierbaren Vorrichtung (1) in einem Bereich zwischen 1,9 cc und 0,1 cc liegt; und

    wobei der niedrige Arbeitszyklus und die geringe Stromaufnahme in Kombination eine Nutzungsdauer der Primärbatterie (36) der in den Körper implantierten implantierbaren Vorrichtung (1), ohne Entfernung aus dem Körper, von mindestens 5 Jahren bereitstellen.


     
    2. Implantierbare Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, die ferner eine Zuleitung (6) umfasst, welche die Elektrodeneinheit (7) mit der Einfassung (3, 4) koppelt und mindestens einen Teil der Elektrodeneinheit von der Einfassung trennt.
     
    3. Implantierbare Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1 oder Anspruch 2, wobei die Nutzungsdauer der Primärbatterie (36) der implantierbaren Vorrichtung in einem Bereich zwischen 5 und 35 Jahren, 6 und 34 Jahren, 7 und 33 Jahren, 8 und 32 Jahren, 9 und 31 Jahren, 10 und 30 Jahren, 11 und 29 Jahren, 12 und 28 Jahren, 13 und 27 Jahren, 14 und 26 Jahren, 15 und 25 Jahren, 16 und 24 Jahren, 17 und 23 Jahren, 18 und 22 Jahren, oder 19 und 21 Jahren liegt.
     
    4. Implantierbare Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, wobei

    i) der Arbeitszyklus des Stimulationssignals in einem Bereich zwischen 2,4 % und 0,1 %, 2,3 % und 0,1 %, 2,2 % und 0,1 %, 2,1 % und 0,1 %, 2,0 % und 0,1 %, 1,9 % und 0,1 %, 1,8 % und 0,1 %, 1,7 % und 0,1 %, 1,6 % und 0,1 %, 1,5 % und 0,1 %, 1,4 % und 0,1 %, 1,3 % und 0,1 %, 1,2 % und 0,1 %, 1,1 % und 0,1 %, 1,0 % und 0,1 %, 0,9 % und 0,1 %, 0,8 % und 0,1 %, 0,7 % und 0,1 %, 0,6 % und 0,1 %, 0,5 % und 0,1 %, 0,4 % und 0,1 %, 0,3 % und 0,1 %, oder 0,2 % und 0,1 % liegt; und/oder wobei

    ii) die Schaltkreisanordnung (51-63) so gestaltet ist, dass sie das Stimulationssignal einmal pro Woche für etwa 30 Minuten erzeugt.


     
    5. Implantierbare Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, wobei die Stromaufnahme im Hintergrund in einem Bereich zwischen 4,5 µA und 0,10 µA, 4,0 µA und 0,10 µA, 3,5 µA und 0,10 µA, 3,0 µA und 0,10 µA, 2,5 µA und 0,10 µA, 2,0 µA und 0,10 µA, 1,5 µA und 0,10 µA, 1,0 µA und 0,10 µA, 0,9 µA und 0,10 µA, 0,8 µA und 0,10 µA, 0,7 µA und 0,10 µA, 0,6 µA und 0,10 µA, 0,5 µA und 0,10 µA, 0,4 µA und 0,10 µA, 0,3 µA und 0,10 µA, oder 0,2 µA und 0,1 µA liegt.
     
    6. Implantierbare Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, wobei das erzeugte Stimulationssignal folgendes aufweist:

    i) einen Stimulationsstrom in einem Bereich zwischen 19 mA und 1 mA, 18 mA und 2 mA, 17 mA und 3 mA, 16 mA und 4 mA, 15 mA und 5 mA, 14 mA und 6 mA, 13 mA und 7 mA, 12 mA und 8 mA, oder 11 mA und 9 mA;

    ii) eine Stimulationsfrequenz in einem Bereich zwischen 30 Hz und 10 Hz, 29 Hz und 11 Hz, 28 Hz und 12 Hz, 27 Hz und 13 Hz, 26 Hz und 14 Hz, 25 Hz und 15 Hz, 24 Hz und 16 Hz, 23 Hz und 17 Hz, 22 Hz und 18 Hz, oder 21 Hz und 19 Hz; und/oder

    iii) eine Stimulationspulsbreite in einem Bereich zwischen 300 µs und 100 µs, 290 µs und 110 µs, 280 µs und 120 µs, 270 µs und 130 µs, 260 µs und 140 µs, 250 µs und 150 µs, 240 µs und 160 µs, 230 µs und 170 µs, 220 µs und 180 µs, oder 210 µs und 190 µs.


     
    7. Implantierbare Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Primärbatterie (36) eine Kapazität in einem Bereich zwischen 360 mAH und 100 mAH, 350 mAH und 110 mAH, 340 mAH und 120 mAH, 330 mAH und 130 mAH, 320 mAH und 140 mAH, 310 mAH und 150 mAH, 300 mAH und 160 mAH, 290 mAH und 170 mAH, 280 mAH und 180 mAH, 270 mAH und 190 mAH, 260 mAH und 200 mAH, 250 mAH und 210 mAH, oder 240 mAH und 220 mAH aufweist.
     
    8. Implantierbare Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, wobei ein Gesamtvolumen der implantierbaren Vorrichtung (1) in einem Bereich zwischen 1,8 cc und 0,2 cc, 1,7 cc und 0,3 cc, 1,6 cc und 0,4 cc, 1,5 cc und 0,5 cc, 1,4 cc und 0,6 cc, 1,3 cc und 0,7 cc, 1,2 cc und 0,8 cc, oder 1,1 cc und 0,9 cc liegt.
     
    9. Implantierbare Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, wobei die Elektrodeneinheit (7) durch die Zuleitung (6) von der Einfassung (3, 4) in einem Abstand getrennt ist, der in einem Bereich zwischen 15 cm und 0,1 mm, 14 cm und 0,1 mm, 13 cm und 0,1 mm, 12 cm und 0,1 mm, 11 cm und 0,1 mm, 10 cm und 0,1 mm, 9 cm und 0,1 mm, 8 cm und 0,1 mm, 7 cm und 0,1 mm, 6 cm und 0,1 mm, 5 cm und 0,1 mm, 4 cm und 0,1 mm, 3 cm und 0,1 mm, 2 cm und 0,1 mm, oder 1 cm und 0,1 mm liegt.
     
    10. Implantierbare Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 9, wobei die Batterie eine Primärbatterie oder eine aufladbare Batterie umfasst, wobei die aufladbare Batterie optional kabellos aufladbar ist.
     
    11. Implantierbare Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10, wobei die Einfassung ein Befestigungselement (2) zur Verankerung in dem Gewebe umfasst, um dadurch die Migration der implantierbaren Vorrichtung (1) während dem langfristigen Einsatz in dem Subjekt zu reduzieren, wobei das Befestigungselement vorzugsweise einen Haken, einen Stift, eine Schraube, eine Pigtail-Schraube, einen Ring, einen Greifer, eine Naht, einen Zinken oder eine Manschette umfasst.
     
    12. Implantierbare Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 11, wobei mindestens ein Teil der Elektrodeneinheit (7) für eine Platzierung angrenzend an einen Nerv des Subjekts gestaltet ist.
     
    13. Implantierbare Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 12, wobei die Elektrodeneinheit (7) ein Befestigungselement (2) umfasst, um dadurch die Migration der implantierbaren Vorrichtung während dem langfristigen Einsatz in dem Subjekt zu reduzieren, wobei das Befestigungselement vorzugsweise einen Haken, einen Stift, eine Schraube, eine Pigtail-Schraube, einen Ring, einen Greifer, eine Naht, einen Zinken oder eine Manschette umfasst.
     
    14. Implantierbare Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 13, wobei die Schaltkreisanordnung einen Transceiver (58) für eine drahtlose Kommunikation umfasst, der so gestaltet ist, dass er drahtlos mit einem externen Programmierer kommuniziert, und wobei optional:

    i) wobei der Transceiver (58) für eine drahtlose Kommunikation der Schaltkreisanordnung so gestaltet ist, dass er Anweisungen von dem externen Programmierer zu einem oder mehreren der folgenden Zwecke empfängt: aktivieren, terminieren, modifizieren, modulieren, überwachen oder beenden eines Therapieprotokolls; und/oder

    ii) wobei der Transceiver für eine drahtlose Kommunikation mit dem externen Programmierer kommuniziert über eine Bluetooth-Verbindung, eine Bluetooth LE-Verbindung, eine Zigbee-Verbindung, eine Wi-Fi-Verbindung, eine IR-Verbindung, eine HF-Verbindung, eine Verbindung auf Ultraschallbasis, eine WiMax-Verbindung, eine ISM-Verbindung, eine AM-Verbindung, eine FM-Verbindung, eine leitfähige Verbindung oder eine magnetische Verbindung, wobei der Transceiver für eine drahtlose Kommunikation der Schaltkreisanordnung vorzugsweise mit dem externen Programmierer über eine leitfähige Verbindung kommuniziert, und wobei der Transceiver für eine drahtlose Kommunikation so gestaltet ist, dass er ein Kommunikationssignal erzeugt, das von dem externen Programmierer empfangen wird, wobei für das Kommunikationssignal eines oder mehrere der folgenden gelten: es liegt unter einem Schwellenwert für die Stimulationsimpulsamplitude, es liegt unter einem Schwellenwert für die Stimulationsimpulsdauer, oder es tritt während einer Refraktärperiode eines Nervs auf.


     
    15. Implantierbare Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 14, wobei die Schaltkreisanordnung einen Magnetfeldsensor umfasst, der so gestaltet ist, dass er ein Magnetfeld erkennt, und wobei die Schaltkreisanordnung optional so gestaltet ist, dass sie ein Therapieprotokoll der implantierbaren Vorrichtung (1) als Reaktion auf das erkannte Magnetfeld deaktiviert, zeitlich verschiebt oder anderweitig modifiziert, wobei das erkannte Magnetfeld vorzugsweise durch einen externen Programmierer erzeugt wird, um mit der Schaltkreisanordnung des Implantats zu kommunizieren, und wobei der Magnetfeldsensor ferner vorzugsweise einen Giant Magnetoresistance-Schalter (GMR-Schalter) umfasst.
     


    Revendications

    1. Dispositif implantable (1) pour une implantation permanente dans le corps d'un sujet pour une utilisation à long terme afin de stimuler un tissu pour améliorer la fonction urinaire ou intestinale chez le sujet, le dispositif comprenant :

    une enceinte (3, 4) conçue pour être implantée dans le corps d'un sujet ;

    des circuits (51-63) disposés dans l'enceinte, les circuits étant conçus pour générer un signal de stimulation avec un faible rapport cyclique compris entre 0,1 % et 2,5 % et un courant absorbé de fond faible compris entre 0,1 µA et 5 µA ;

    une batterie primaire (36) disposée à l'intérieur de l'enceinte et couplée aux circuits, la batterie fournissant de l'énergie aux circuits pour générer le signal de stimulation ; et

    un ensemble d'électrode (7) couplé à l'enceinte et aux circuits, l'ensemble d'électrode étant conçu pour diriger le signal de stimulation généré vers le tissu du sujet ;

    un volume total du dispositif implantable (1) étant dans une plage comprise entre 1,9 cc et 0,1 cc et

    le faible rapport cyclique et le faible courant absorbé du signal de stimulation généré se combinant pour assurer une durée de vie utile de la batterie primaire (36) du dispositif implantable (1) implanté dans le corps d'au moins 5 ans sans retrait du corps.


     
    2. Dispositif implantable selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre un conducteur (6) couplant l'ensemble d'électrode (7) à l'enceinte (3, 4) et séparant au moins une partie de l'ensemble d'électrode de l'enceinte.
     
    3. Dispositif implantable selon la revendication 1 ou 2, la durée de vie utile de la batterie primaire (36) du dispositif implantable étant dans une plage comprise entre 5 et 35 ans, 6 et 34 ans, 7 et 33 ans, 8 et 32 ans, 9 et 31 ans, 10 et 30 ans, 11 et 29 ans, 12 et 28 ans, 13 et 27 ans, 14 et 26 ans, 15 et 25 ans, 16 et 24 ans, 17 et 23 ans, 18 et 22 ans, ou 19 et 21 ans.
     
    4. Dispositif implantable selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3,

    i) le cycle d'utilisation du signal de stimulation étant dans une plage comprise entre 2,4 % et 01 %, 2,3 % et 0,1 %, 2,2 % et 0,1 %, 2,1 % et 0,1 %, 2,0 % et 0,1 %, 1,9 % et 0,1 %, 1,8 % et 0,1 %, 1,7 % et 0,1 %, 1,6 % et 0,1 %, 1,5 % et 0,1 %, 1,4 % et 0,1 %, 1,3 % et 0,1 %, 1,2 % et 0,1 %, 1,1 % et 0,1 %, 1,0 % et 0,1 %, 0,9 % et 0,1 %, 0,8 % et 0,1 %, 0,7 % et 0,1 %, 0,6 % et 0,1 %, 0,5 % et 0,1 %, 0,4 % et 0,1 %, 0,3 % et 0,1 %, ou 0,2 % et 0,1 % ; et/ou

    ii) les circuits (51-63) étant conçus pour générer le signal de stimulation pendant environ 30 minutes une fois par semaine.


     
    5. Dispositif implantable selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, le courant absorbé de fond étant dans une plage comprise entre 4,5 µA et 0,10 µA, 4,0 µA et 0,10 µA, 3,5 µA et 0,10 µA, 3,0 µA et 0,10 µA, 2,5 µA et 0,10 µA, 2,0 µA et 0,10 µA, 1,5 µA et 0,10 µA, 1,0 µA et 0,10 µA, 0,9 µA et 0,10 µA, 0,8 µA et 0,10 µA, 0,7 µA et 0,10 µA, 0,6 µA et 0,10 µA, 0,5 µA et 0,10 µA, 0,4 µA et 0,10 µA, 0,3 µA et 0,10 µA, ou 0,2 µA et 0,1 µA.
     
    6. Dispositif implantable selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, le signal de stimulation généré ayant

    i) un courant de stimulation dans une plage comprise entre 19 mA et 1 mA, 18 mA et 2 mA, 17 mA et 3 mA, 16 mA et 4 mA, 15 mA et 5 mA, 14 mA et 6 mA, 13 mA et 7 mA, 12 mA et 8 mA, ou 11 mA et 9 mA ;

    ii) une fréquence de stimulation dans une plage comprise entre 30 Hz et 10 Hz, 29 Hz et 11 Hz, 28 Hz et 12 Hz, 27 Hz et 13 Hz, 26 Hz et 14 Hz, 25 Hz et 15 Hz, 24 Hz et 16 Hz, 23 Hz et 17 Hz, 22 Hz et 18 Hz, ou 21 Hz et 19 Hz ; et/ou

    iii) une largeur d'impulsion de stimulation dans une plage comprise entre 300 µs et 100 µs, 290 µs et 110 µs, 280 µs et 120 µs, 270 µs et 130 µs, 260 µs et 140 µs, 250 µs et 150 µs, 240 µs et 160 µs, 230 µs et 170 µs, 220 µs et 180 µs, ou 210 µs et 190 µs.


     
    7. Dispositif implantable selon la revendication 1, la batterie primaire (36) ayant une capacité comprise entre 360 mAH et 100 mAH, 350 mAH et 110 mAH, 340 mAH et 120 mAH, 330 mAH et 130 mAH, 320 mAH et 140 mAH, 310 mAH et 150 mAH, 300 mAH et 160 mAH, 290 mAH et 170 mAH, 280 mAH et 180 mAH, 270 mAH et 190 mAH, 260 mAH et 200 mAH, 250 mAH et 210 mAH, ou 240 mAH et 220 mAH
     
    8. Dispositif implantable selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, un volume total du dispositif implantable (1) étant dans une plage comprise entre 1,8 cc et 0,2 cc, 1,7 cc et 0,3 cc, 1,6 cc et 0,4 cc, 1,5 cc et 0,5 cc, 1,4 cc et 0,6 cc, 1,3 cc et 0,7 cc, 1,2 cc et 0,8 cc, ou 1,1 cc et 0,9 cc.
     
    9. Dispositif implantable selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8, l'ensemble d'électrode (7) étant séparé de l'enceinte (3,4) par le conducteur (6) d'une distance comprise entre 15 cm et 0,1 mm, 14 cm et 0,1 mm, 13 cm et 0,1 mm, 12 cm et 0,1 mm, 11 cm et 0,1 mm, 10 cm et 0,1 mm, 9 cm et 0,1 mm, 8 cm et 0,1 mm, 7 cm et 0,1 mm, 6 cm et 0,1 mm, 5 cm et 0,1 mm, 4 cm et 0,1 mm, 3 cm et 0,1 mm, 2 cm et 0,1 mm, ou 1 cm et 0,1 mm.
     
    10. Dispositif implantable selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 9, la batterie comprenant une batterie primaire, ou une batterie rechargeable, éventuellement la batterie rechargeable étant rechargeable sans fil.
     
    11. Dispositif implantable selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 10, l'enceinte comprenant un élément de fixation (2) à ancrer dans le tissu, réduisant ainsi la migration du dispositif implantable (1) lors d'une utilisation à long terme chez le sujet, de préférence l'élément de fixation comprenant un crochet, une broche, une vis, une vis en queue-de-cochon, un anneau, une pince, une suture, une dent ou un brassard.
     
    12. Dispositif implantable selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 11, au moins une partie de l'ensemble d'électrode (7) étant conçue pour être placée à proximité d'un nerf du sujet.
     
    13. Dispositif implantable selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 12, l'ensemble d'électrode (7) comprenant un élément de fixation, réduisant ainsi la migration du dispositif implantable pendant une utilisation à long terme chez le sujet, de préférence l'élément de fixation comprenant un crochet, une broche, une vis, une vis en queue-de-cochon, un anneau, une pince, une suture, une dent ou un brassard.
     
    14. Dispositif implantable selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 13, les circuits comprenant un émetteur-récepteur de communication sans fil (58) conçu pour communiquer sans fil avec un programmateur externe, et, éventuellement :

    i) l'émetteur-récepteur de communication sans fil (58) des circuits étant conçu pour recevoir des instructions du programmateur externe pour activer, programmer, modifier, moduler, surveiller ou terminer un protocole thérapeutique ; et/ou

    ii) l'émetteur-récepteur de communication sans fil communiquant avec le programmateur externe par une connexion Bluetooth, une connexion Bluetooth LE, une connexion Zigbee, une connexion Wi-Fi, une connexion IR, une connexion RF, une connexion par ultrasons, une connexion WiMax, une connexion ISM, une connexion AM, une connexion FM, une connexion conductrice ou une connexion magnétique, de préférence l'émetteur-récepteur de communication sans fil des circuits communiquant avec le programmateur externe par une connexion conductrice, et l'émetteur-récepteur de communication sans fil étant conçu pour générer un signal de communication reçu par le programmateur externe, le signal de communication étant inférieur à une amplitude d'impulsion de stimulation seuil, inférieur à une durée d'impulsion de stimulation seuil et/ou pendant une période réfractaire d'un nerf.


     
    15. Dispositif implantable selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 14, les circuits comprenant un capteur de champ magnétique conçu pour détecter un champ magnétique, et éventuellement les circuits étant conçus pour désactiver, reporter ou autrement modifier un protocole thérapeutique du dispositif implantable (1) en réponse au champ magnétique détecté, de préférence le champ magnétique détecté étant généré à partir d'un programmateur externe pour communiquer avec les circuits de l'implant, et en outre de préférence le capteur de champ magnétique comprenant un commutateur à magnétorésistance géante (GMR).
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description