This week Cambridge Consultants unveiled a semi-leadless pacemaker it designed for start-up EBR Systems. The device, called Wireless Cardiac Stimulation system (WiCS), includes a leadless electrode that paces the heart by converting mechanical energy into electrical energy wirelessly via an ultrasonic pulse generator. In its current iteration, however, the WiCS system requires the use of a standard pacemaker/defibrillator.
“The WiCS system represents a huge breakthrough in pacemaker technology, not only in how we treat chronic heart failure patients today, but in eliminating leads and enabling site selected pacing locations in the heart for a wide variety of cardiac pacing applications,” stated Allan Will, CEO of EBR Systems, in a press release. “Many of the complications and reliability failures of pacemaker systems are attributed to leads. By eliminating leads, we can address the problems which come with them, and advance cardiac pacing therapy for all patients.”
Standard CRT (Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy) pacemakers/defibrillators require the implantation of three leads into the heart in both the left and right ventricles. The WiCS system uses a small leadless electrode implanted within the left ventricle of the heart that works in conjuction with a standard pacemaker/defibrillator located in the right ventricle. The electrode senses the electrical pacing pulse of the pacemaker from the right ventricle, then “transmits an ultrasonic pulse to the implanted receiver, which converts the sonic energy into electrical energy to pace the left ventricle in synchronicity with the right.”
The company intends to develop the WiCS system to be completely leadless in the future. Cambridge Consultant claimed that early human clinical trials were successful. They conducted them in Europe.
In 2009, Cambridge Consultants showed off a wireless asthma inhaler prototype that could be programmed to remind users when to take their treatment and can then automatically record its use so caregivers could remotely monitor the patient’s compliance through an online portal. The device has yet to further developed commercially.
Read the press release below.