Understanding the Difference Between a Pacemaker and an ICD
for more than 3 million people in the United StatesPacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are the life-changing technologies they rely on. While both devices are implantable medical devices designed to improve the quality of life for people with heart arrhythmias, a condition where the heart beats irregularly, each device serves a different purpose.
The pacemaker shown in Figure 1 is an implantable medical device designed to help patients maintain a normal heartbeat and rhythm. The small device is placed under the patient’s skin in the upper part of their chest and contains a computer that detects if the heart beats at an incorrect rate or is out of rhythm. When the pacemaker detects that the heart is out of rhythm, it sends low-energy electrical pulses to return the heartbeat to a steady rhythm and rate.
Rather than helping to maintain a regular heartbeat, an ICD is designed to prevent or prevent potentially dangerous arrhythmias that lead to sudden cardiac arrest by using low- or high-energy electric shocks (Figure 2). can cause. Like a pacemaker, an ICD is implanted under the patient’s skin and contains a computer that tracks the heart rate and rhythm. The key difference between the two devices is that with an ICD, if the patient’s heart beats too fast or is too out of rhythm, the ICD will send a shock to bring it back into rhythm. Some ICDs can also act like pacemakers and send signals when the heart rate becomes too slow.
While pacemakers and ICDs perform different functions, there are many similarities between these two implantable medical devices. Since both devices are extremely important to the lives of patients who require them, it is essential that the small circuit boards inside these devices, which contain very small electronics such as capacitors, use high-reliability (Hi-Rel) electrical components. are created by doing. ,
Challenges in designing electrical components for life-sustaining technology
Since both pacemakers and ICDs are implanted inside the body, these devices must be made as small as possible. Today, medical device designers are focusing on innovating device design to further reduce size and are currently working on the development of new leadless pacemakers Which is about 1/10th the size of a conventional pacemaker. Therefore, electrical components such as the capacitors used in these devices must continue to be miniaturized, which can be very challenging.
A great option to help reduce capacitor size is to use multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs). Since multiple layers can be built into a single capacitor with an MLCC, the result is a single capacitor that provides equivalent capacitance levels of using multiple SLCs connected in parallel. While this multi-layer design is slightly thicker (longer) than an SLC, it does reduce the overall footprint required for a capacitor to achieve the higher capacitance required by pacemakers and ICDs.
In addition to the need for increasingly smaller capacitors, the capacitors used in these devices must also be highly reliable. While high reliability may seem like a subjective term, in the medical industry, high reliability has a very specific meaning – the component must be designed to maintain consistent excellence in quality and safety over a long period of time.
This is not an easy task as these components must be put through rigorous testing and extensive screening using established military specifications (MIL-SPECs) to prove reliability. For medical components, MIL-PRF-55681 and MIL-PRF-123 are the most common screening specifications used. At a high level, MIL-PRF-55681 defines a mid-K stable dielectric designated as BX, while MIL-PRF-123 is high reliability, general purpose (BX and BR), and temperature stable (BP and BG). ) covers the general requirements. Ceramic Dielectric Fixed Capacitors, Through-hole and SMD. Screening using MIL-PRF-123 provides an increased level of reliability compared to MIL-PRF-55681 because the screening specifications are more stringent.
Knowles Precision Devices is here to help
At Knowles Precision Devices we are well-versed in guiding device manufacturers through the MLCC selection process and working together to perform the necessary testing and screening for your device at our facilities in the United States. We have decades of experience in manufacturing highly-reliable MLCCs suitable for implantable medical devices such as ICDs and pacemakers. This means you can rest assured that our components will produce the level of reliability and safety needed to be on the circuit board of your life-critical implantable medical devices.
We also understand that beyond meeting the miniaturization and hi-relay requirements for capacitors described in this post, many other factors, including material, leakage resistance, stability and price, affect steering capacitor choice. This is why we supply a wide variety of Hi-Relay Capacitors that can meet the exact specifications required for medical implantable devices. From basic electric charge storage to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and high-frequency noise filtering to functions such as absorbing and smoothing signals, we have highly reliable options for your device.
Learn more about our Hi-Relay product offerings at our . by downloading High-reliability Product Brochure,
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