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Publication numberUS3769986 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 6, 1973
Filing dateMay 5, 1971
Priority dateMay 5, 1971
Publication numberUS 3769986 A, US 3769986A, US-A-3769986, US3769986 A, US3769986A
InventorsC Hermann
Original AssigneeEsb Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Body organ threshold analyzer
US 3769986 A
Abstract
A current control device having particular application as a body organ threshold analyzer is described comprising pulse current selection means by which a desired output pulse current from a pulse generating means, such as a cardiac pacer, can be selected, pulse current control means by which the pulse current can be controlled, and a pulse current sensing and correcting means by which the pulse current is sensed and when deviations from the selected current occur, sends corrective signals to the current control means.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [1 1 Herrmann Nov. 6, 1973 BODY ORGAN THRESHOLD ANALYZER [75] Inventor: Cal C. Herrmann, New Shewsbury,

[73} Assignee: ESB Incorporated, Philadelphia, Pa.

[22] Filed: May 5, 1971 [21] Appl. No.: 140,361

[52] US. Cl. 128/419 P, 128/421, 307/264,

323/4, 323/22, 328/172 [51] Int. Cl A6ln 1/36 [58] Field of Search 128/419 C, 419 E,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,978,630 4/1961 La Tour 323/9 3,255,402 6/1966 Vollnhals.... 323/9 3,513,378 5/1970 Kemper 323/9 3,548,294 12/1970 Houghton 323/9 3,523,539 8/1970 Lavezzo et a1. 128/419 P F l PULSE :o L GENERATOR 3,648,708 3/1972 Haevi 128/422 3,625,201 12/1971 Murphy, Jr 128/419 P 3,554,198 l/197l Tatolan et a]. 128/419 P OTHER PUBLICATIONS Chardack et al., Surgery Vol. 48, No. 4, Oct. 1960 pp. 643-654.

Primary Examiner-William E. Kamm AttorneyRobert H. Robinson, Raymond L. Balfour, Anthony J. Rossi and Thomas A. Lennox [57] ABSTRACT A current control device having particular application as a body organ threshold analyzer is described comprising pulse current selection means by which a desired output pulse current from a pulse generating means, such as a cardiac pacer, can be selected, pulse -current control means by which the pulse current can be controlled, and a pulse current sensing and correcting means by which the pulse current is sensed and when deviations from the selected current occur, sends corrective signals to the current control means.

1 Claim, 2 Drawing Figures PAIENIEBImv ems 3.769.986

I PULSE L- lo I GENERATOR J L .4 I+I HI:

I |V I4 I I CURRENT I SELECTION q i I CURRENT I I SENSING CURRENT I CONTROL RETURN- I ELECTRODE l' I ISTIMULATING 20 {ELECTRODE I \J v F 7g. I

'r'" 1 PULSE IO GENERATOR INVENTOR.

CAL C. HERRMANN 1 BODY ORGAN THRESHOLD ANALYZER BACKGROUND OF TI-IEINVENTION l. Field of the Invention v This invention relates to a current control device. In particular, it relates to a currentcontrol device or threshold analyzer for controlling the output of a pulse generating means such as a body organ stimulating device and fordetermining the threshold requirements for organ stimulation as measured on the patient. The invention will be described for the most part as applied to'cardiac pacers and cardiac thresholds analysis as it is in this area where most of the organ stimulation work has been developed. However, the invention may be readily adapted for use with stimulators for many other body organs, muscular tissue, etc.

2. Description of the Prior Art S The extension of human life by the use of implanted heart stimulating devices has been carried out with great effectiveness for approximately a decade. In order to simplify the implanting operation, in order to be sure'that the heart stimulating electrodes are properlylocated, and particularly to insure that the implantable stimulator is in proper operating condition, it has been found desirable to measure the minimum heart stimulating impulse required by the patient and compare it to the outputqof the stimulating device with which he will be supplied. Several devices for making these measurements have been heretofore described in the prior art. The generic name of threshold analyzers hasbeen used for such devices and will be used in the following discussionaln general, these threshold analyzers have measured the minimum stimulating requirement in terms of fractions of the energy output of the stimulator to-beused with an individual patient. Thus, with the threshold analyzers available, there is little opportunity for o btaining statistical information on actual energy requirements; Further, when a particular stimulator-electrode combination does not appearto have a sufficient factor of safety for a reasonably long implant, there is no conclusive way with the prior art devices'to determine whether" it is'the electrode system or the stimulator device that is at fault.-

trol means. In general, these devices are large or contain numerous components.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a simplified current control device having particular application as a body organ stimulator threshold analyzer means comprising: a current selection means by which the pulse current of a body organ stimulator can be selected, a current controlling means by which the pulse current can be controlled, and a current sensing means by which the pulse currentcan be sensed and when deviations from the selected current occur sends corrective signals to the control means. The sensing and correcting means include a transistor the forward base emitter junction potential of whichserves as a reference potential against In my co-pending applicationSer. No. 140,360, filed May 5,1911, a form of threshold analyzer comprising a completecircuit for determining the peak voltage and current of a stimulating pulse isucombined with a heart stimulator to enable a surgeon to make, complete and exhaustive tests of the stimulating electrodes when implanted in the patient as well as enabling the surgeon to fully check out the implantable stimulator to be used with a particularpatient. This form of threshold analyzer is ideal for use in large hospitals where there may be several stimulator implant operations in a week. However, for smaller hospitals where implanting operations may not be held oftener than about onceper month or so or for applications where a low cost or disposable device is preferred, a less costly and less complicated device, yet one that will indicate true current values independent of the current or voltage capabilitiesof the generator, is needed.

In general, current controlling devices have been used extensively in the past. One such device is the iron wire ballast tube. This has the fault of being very slow in its action, requiring several minutes to reach equilibrium and hence, is not suited to pulse type operations.

Certain power supply devices also embody current conwhich deviations of the pulse current are measured. A thresholdanalyzer device in accordance with the invention is small in size and low in cost. A first advantage over prior art threshold analyzers is that the threshold current as controlled by the threshold analyzer of the invention is indicated directlyin terms of true current values, i.e., milliamperes.

Another advantage of the device when used as a threshold analyzer is that it requires no external power in its operation. In addition, it is of almost universal application and is suitable for use with most conventional heart pacers presently available. Further, the current control device of the invention'provides a low impedance reverse path when not conducting current in a. forward direction. This is particularly advantageous when using the analyzer with a synchronous pacer in which the natural heart rhythm issensed and returned to the pacer. The total voltage drop across the threshold analyzer of the invention is low-due to the voltage reference selected so that controlled pulses therefrom have sufficient voltage to give proper stimulation in spite of limited voltage available from the implantable stimulating pulse generating means.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS,

' FIG". 1 illustrates in block form the several functional portions of the threshold analyzerof the invention; and FIG. 2 is a complete electrical circuit of a particular embodiment of the invention."

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT FIG. 1 illustrates in-block form the principal functional portions of the threshold analyzer of the invention. In this diagram, a stimulating pulse generating means, as for example a'heart pacer, is indicated at 10, and a stimulating electrode already implanted in the patient is shown at 12. The heart pacer is adapted to generate a series of .heart stimulating pulses at the nor mal pulse rateand of a strength sufficient to properly stimulate the heart of the patient. The stimulating electrode is adapted todeliver the stimulating pulses from the pacer to the heart of the patient in such a manner that the patients heart is stimulated tobeat at the rate provided by the pacer. As described above, the stimulator 10 is intended to be implanted in the patient after its performance with the implanted electrode 12 has. been thoroughly analyzed by means of the analyzer.

The analyzer comprises three functional blocks, a stimulating pulse current selection means 14, stimulating current controlling means 16 and a current sensing and corrective means 18. As shown, the current selection means 14 and the current controlling means 16 are connected in series between the stimulator l and the electrode 12. The current sensing means 18 is connected between the current selection means 14 and the current controlling means 16. The current sensing means senses the pulse current and when the pulse current deviates from the selected current, its sends corrective signals to the current control means.

The operation of the device can be understood by following its use in a typical implantation operation 'as follows: a typical heart block patient, after the'imm'ediate crisis is over, is put on a temporary external heart stimulator. As soon as possible, arrangements are made for the implantation of a permanent stimulator. An implantable stimulating pulse generator is selected and an output or stimulating electrode is selected and located in a suitable cardiac location. The threshold analyzer with current selector set for maximum current is connected between the output of the stimulating generator and the electrode. In certain cases, i.e., when used with stimulators having an unpolar electrode, it is also necessary to provide a temporary return lead from the patient to the generator. This is shown at 20. At the same time that the implantable stimulating circuit is completed, it is necessary to break the circuit of the temporary external stimulator, otherwise, the heart of the patient would receive a double quantity of pulses which would, of course, be undesirable. A sufficient time is then allowed to pass for the heart of the patient to get accustomed to the stimulating pulses from the new source. When this is achieved, the surgeon, by means of the current selection portion of the analyzer, gradually reduces the pulse current. This is continued until the surgeon observes through an electrocardiograph or other means that the stimulating current is at the thresholdor the minimum required to stimulate the patient.

A particular feature of the threshold analyzer of the invention is-that the currents passed by the analyzer are given in terms of milliampers so that they are reproduceable and suitable for correlation. If the threshold current, as determined by the threshold analyzer, is unduly higher than expected by the surgeon, the surgeon is advised that the stimulating electrode is not properly located or that other problems exist. The threshold current as determined can be entered on the patients medical history sheet so as to be available for future checks.

In FIG. 2, a detailed circuit diagram of one form of the threshold analyzer is shown. In this diagram represents the stimulating generator and 12 the implanted electrode. An input terminal 56 to which the generator lead is externally connected connects internally with the current selection means 14 comprising a variable resistor R6. in FIG. 2, a fixed resistor R1 is shown in series with R6. The purpose 'of R1 is to provide a safe limit to the current capabilities of the control. Although Rl is shown as being separate from R6, R1 can be combined with R6 as for instance, by providing a stop to limit the excursion of R6. It can also be pointed out that R1 is not a necessary part of thecontrol device and may be omitted without in any way altering its operation as a current controlling device. it is desirable that resistor R6 has a logarithmic resistance characteristic so as to cover a broad range of resistance values with approximately equal accuracy at all dial settings.

The secondterminal of R6 connects to the collector of a current controlling transistor Q1 and represents the current control means 14. It is desirable that Q1 has a low saturation voltage,'low emitter-base potentials, and that in general it will operate in a voltage range less than 1 volt. To this end, transistor O1 is chosen to be an NPN germanium transistor. The three components R1, R6 and Q1 form the principal current path through the analyzer. The portion of the circuit comprising the transistors Q2 and Q3, resistors R2, R3, and R5 and capacitor C1 forms the current sensing means 18. For best results, the emitter-base potential-current relationship of transistor Q3 should have a sharp and welldefined knee. This characteristic is found with the silicon tpe transistor and therefore O3 is by preference a silicon type of PNP construction.

A branch of this circuit comprising the emitter and collector of a transistor Q3 and resistor R5 connects between the terminals 56 and 58.

The base of transistor Q3 is connected via resistor R3 to the collector of transistor Q1. The base of transistor Q1 is connected to the collector of the transistor Q2, of PNP construction.

The requirements for this transistor are similar to transistor Q1, i.e., it should have low saturation voltage, low emitter-base potentials and in general operate in voltage ranges less than 1 volt. For this reason, 02 is desirably of the germanium type. The emitter of transistor Q2 is connected to the collector of transistor Q1. The base of transistor O2 is connected to the collector of transistor Q3. The resistor R2 connects the collector of transistor O2 to the output terminal 58. A capacitor C1 in series with a resistor R4 is connected between the base and collector of transistor Q3.

Although the actual operation of this circuit is to control current pulses, for purposes of explanation, it is easier to speak in terms of continuous direct currents as the operation is the same in either case.

Current flowing through resistor R1 and R6 causes a voltage drop between point 56 and point 60. This same voltage will appear between the collector and base of transistor 03. r I

It is well known that the voltage'dropacross the emitterjunction of a silicon transistor is practically constant, regardless of the current through it and that this voltage is approximately 0.7 volts. It is to be noted that the forward base emitter junction potential of transistor Q3 is used in the present circuit as a reference potential.

If the voltage drop across the emitter junction of transistor Q3 should be greater than 0.7 volts, transistor Q3 will rapidly increase its conductivity and increase the voltage drop across resistor R5.

When the voltage drop across R5 increases, the conductivity of transistor O2 is decreased. Since transistor Q2 is a PNP type, this increases the negative bias on Q1, and since Q1 is a NPN type transistor, this reduces its conductivity which in turn reduces the current flow through R1 and R6, until the voltage drop across the two resistors balance the normal 0.7 volts drop across Q3. This action occurs in a very short time and well within the period of a single heart stimulating pulse. if, on the other hand, the voltage drop' across the emitter junction of transistor Q3 should be less than 0.7 volts, transistor Q3 will rapidly decrease its conductivity and decrease the voltage drop across resistor R5. This will result in an increase in the current flow controller.

through'Ql, again resulting in a balance between the voltage drop across R1 and R6 and the 0.7 volts drop of Q3. Thus, the net effect of resistors R1 and R6 plus transistors Q1, Q2 and O3 is to stabilize a voltage drop across resistors R1 and R6 and by so doing hold a constant current from input terminal 56 to output terminal 58. It will also be seen that the value of the controlled current will be adjustable by the value given resistor R6.

Transistor Q3 is chosen to be a silicon device because it has a large voltage drop than germanium transistors and is therefore a more stable voltage reference. Transistors Q1 and Q2 are-preferably germanium for minimum voltagedrop. The germanium transistors do not react as fast as silicon. in order to match the silicon transistor reaction time to that of the germanium transistors, a retarding circuit is included. This retarding circuit is comprised of resistor R3, R4 and capacitor C1 which slow down the response time of transistor Q3 so as to match transistors Q1 and Q2. Resistors R2 and R5 serve to set the several transistors at desirable working voltages. Resistor R3 also serves to limit the curernt flow from O3 to point 60. Without R3, the circuit may be unstable.

The device as described in detail above is designed to pass, a pulse of negative electricity as generated by a negative emitting pulse generator. If by chance a positive pulse should be passed through it, the device will not be damaged but will not control the current flow. However, if the device is to be used for controlling a positive pulse, it is only necessary to connect terminal 58 to the generator and terminal 56 to the load. When so connected, the controller becomes a positive current It has been stated that transistor Q1 should be an NPN germanium type for best results. The device will operate quite successfully if 01 is a PNP transistor provided that transistors Q2 and Q3 are NPN type. This changes the polarity of the device so that when connected as shown in FIG. 2, it will control positive currents passing from terminal 56 to terminal 58.

if transistors Q1 and Q2 are silicon, the device will 7 function but have a higher minimum control voltage.

Also, it was stated that transistor Q3 should be a silicon type for'best results. The device will operate successfully even if 03 is a germanium transistor, but with somewhat less accuracy of control. In these cases, there may be no particular need for the retarding circuit R4 and C l.

, From this detailed description it will be seen that the variable resistor R6 forms a current selection means by which a desired pulse current value can be selected.

Transistor 01 with its associated circuitry is a current controlling means by whichthe pulse current is controlled at the value. Finally transistor Q3 and Q2 with their circuitry from a current sensing means by which the feedback signal may prevent satisfactory operation of the synchronous pacers.

It may be pointed out the the calibrations of variable resistor R6 are chosen so as to control the current through the device at selected values and are indicated on the instrument .in milliampere values. The range covered is approximately from 1 to 20 milliamperes. Typical values of components used in the circuit of the invention are:

R1 R6 2.5K Pot.(external) R2 20K Cl 0.001 mfd 1 RV ceramic R3-1OK Ql-2N1304 R5 200K 03 2N5447 The 10 components of the circuit are both small in size and low in cost. The total cost of a unit is approximately 1 percent of cost of a typical stimulator or heart pacer. Thus, the units are low enough in cost so that they can be supplied with each stimulator without being a burden to the purchaser.

Although the general and detailed description presented above depicts the use of the device solely with a heart stimulator, it is quite obvious and is included in the scope of the invention that the device is suitable to determine the threshold energy limits for other areas or organs of the human body that need artificial stimulation such as bladder, kidneys, operational muscles, etc.

Further, the current controlling circuit of the. invention has novelty and utility in the non-medical electrical and electronics fields where a simple, quick-acting current control is required.

The device as described is assembled from individual components. However, it is a part of this invention that it can be made using the techniques of integrated circuitry, hybrid circuitry, etc. in order to reduce its size, reduce cost or improve reliability.

Having decribed my invention and given an example of its assembly in detail as well as a normal method of use, I hereby claim:

l. A threshold analyzer having an input terminal operably connectable to an implantable stimulating pulse generating means and an output terminal operably connectable to an implanted stimulating electrode which comprises:

a. a variable resistor having a first terminal and a second terminal, the first terminal being connected to I connected to the input terminal of the threshold analyzer;

d. a first fixed resistor having a first terminal and a second terminal, the first terminal being connected to the collector of the second transistor and the second terminal thereof being connected to the output terminal of the threshold analyzer;

e. a second fixed resistor having a first terminal and a second terminal, the first terminal thereof being connected to the base of the second transistor and the second terminal thereof being connected to the second terminal of the variable resistor;

f. a third fixed resistor having a first terminal and a second terminal, the first terminal thereof being connected to the base of the first transistor and the second terminal thereof being connected to the output terminal of the threshold analyzer;

g. a third PNP germanium transistor having an emith. a fourth fixed resistor having a first terminal and a second terminal, the first terminal being connected to the base of the third transistor; and

i. a capacitor having a first terminal and a second terminal, the first terminal being connected to the second terminal of the fourth fixed resistor and the second terminal of the capacitor being connected to the base of the second transistor.

Patent Citations
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Non-Patent Citations
Reference
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3918459 *Jan 16, 1974Nov 11, 1975Sybron CorpConstant current electrotherapy device with plug-in current control means
US3920024 *Apr 16, 1973Nov 18, 1975Vitatron Medical BvThreshold tracking system and method for stimulating a physiological system
US4114627 *Dec 14, 1976Sep 19, 1978American Hospital Supply CorporationCardiac pacer system and method with capture verification signal
US4141367 *Apr 29, 1977Feb 27, 1979Med Telectronics Ltd.Cardiac electrode/pacer system analyzer
US4630615 *May 21, 1984Dec 23, 1986Cordis CorporationApparatus for measuring impedance
US4640285 *Jan 22, 1985Feb 3, 1987Cordis CorporationSense margin evaluation system and method for use same
US5504420 *May 4, 1994Apr 2, 1996L'espace Medical - La Maison Du MedecinCurrent-generating apparatus for therapeutic treatments in the field of biophysics and physiology
US8000790 *Oct 27, 2003Aug 16, 2011St. Jude Medical AbDevice for adjusting the sensitivity level of an implantable medical device
US8301248Jun 27, 2008Oct 30, 2012Boston Scientific Neuromodulation CorporationSequenced and simultaneous stimulation for treating congestive heart failure
EP0191404A1 *Feb 4, 1986Aug 20, 1986Telectronics N.V.Activity sensor for pacemaker control
Classifications
U.S. Classification607/27, 323/911, 327/322, 607/28
International ClassificationA61N1/37
Cooperative ClassificationA61N1/3706, A61N1/371, Y10S323/911
European ClassificationA61N1/37C, A61N1/37D