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Method for Strengthening a Ring Contact Connector for a Medical Lead

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000007497D
Publication Date: 2002-Apr-01
Document File: 6 page(s) / 27K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

An improved ring contact connector for a medical lead is longitudinally preloaded to increase the tensile strength of the connector assembly. As the diameters of medical leads have decreased, ring contact connector assemblies on such leads have become vulnerable to damage by tensile stress. Tensile stress results from lateral forces on the connector during insertion, and from handling during any part of a medical procedure. The ring contact connector assembly is improved by adding a tensile member to the connector assembly, which tensile member is held in tension while the connector assembly is molded. When the connector assembly has cured, the tension on the tensile member is released, and the connector assembly is thereby placed in longitudinal compression (i.e., preloaded). When lateral forces are placed on the preloaded connector assembly, the preloading cancels a corresponding tensile stress, and thereby improves the durability of the connector assembly.

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Method for Strengthening a Ring Contact Connector for a Medical Lead

An improved ring contact connector for a medical lead is longitudinally preloaded to increase the tensile strength of the connector assembly. As the diameters of medical leads have decreased, ring contact connector assemblies on such leads have become vulnerable to damage by tensile stress. Tensile stress results from lateral forces on the connector during insertion, and from handling during any part of a medical procedure. The ring contact connector assembly is improved by adding a tensile member to the connector assembly, which tensile member is held in tension while the connector assembly is molded. When the connector assembly has cured, the tension on the tensile member is released, and the connector assembly is thereby placed in longitudinal compression (i.e., preloaded). When lateral forces are placed on the preloaded connector assembly, the preloading cancels a corresponding tensile stress, and thereby improves the durability of the connector assembly.

Method for Strengthening a Ring Contact Connector for a Medical Lead

Background

Known implantable electronic and electrochemical medical devices and systems commonly utilize ring contact connectors.  A strengthened ring contact connector assembly is described herein for use with such devices and systems.  Such strengthened ring contact connector avoids damage to the ring contact connector when the ring contact connector is inserted into a connector port.  Further, the strengthened ring contact connector resists damage that may occur through rough handling.

Implantable electronic medical devices and systems have been in use for the past 20 years or more. One of the earliest implantable medical devices to be implanted in a patient was the cardiac pacemaker. Other implantable electronic devices have included neurostimulators, i.e., electrical stimulators designed to stimulate nerves or other tissue, sensors for sensing various physiological parameters or physical status of a patient, and therapeutic-delivery devices, e.g., pumps for delivering controlled amounts of medication.  In more recent years, a tiny implantable cochlear stimulator has been developed that allows patients who are profoundly deaf to experience the sensation of hearing.  Other tiny implantable sensors and neuro-stimulators are under development that will enhance the ability of a patient, who is a recipient of such sensors or stimulators, to walk, or to see, or to experience the use of other lost or impaired body functions.

Many of the implantable medical devices and systems described above require that at least one electrical lead be connected thereto in order for the device or system to perform its intended function.  Such lead typically includes a plurality of insulated conductors, or wires, through which electrical signals may be delivered or sensed. Each of the insulated conductors, or wires, usually terminates in one or more electrodes designed to be in...