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Publication Date: 2004-Aug-26

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database

Related People

Kevin Henry Hood: INVENTOR


A “reed switch” is added as a safety component to the implanted circuitry within a fully implantable ICS system. The “reed switch” does not affect the power consumption requirements of the device. The “reed switch”, in conjunction with a magnet that is placed outside of the patient’s head, provides a safety switch which allows the patient to quickly turn off the ICS during times when the patient is experiencing loud stimulation. When the magnet is moved away from the “reed switch”, the contacts within the housing of the switch move to their original opened position, thereby preventing further stimulation.

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            The present disclosure relates to implantable devices, and more particularly, to a fully implantable device or system for stimulating or sensing within living tissue.   The implantable device has a rechargeable battery or other replenishable power source.  The implantable device contains at least one circuit partition, wherein a safety switch is placed in-line with the power used for electrode stimulation or placed in-line with the implant power source.  The safety switch may be operated to quickly shut down operation of the stimulation system, if necessary.

            Presently available implantable stimulation devices, such as a cochlear implant device or a neural stimulator, herein described as the “initial” ICS system, typically have an implanted unit, an external ac coil, and an external belt-mounted control unit and power source.  The external control unit and power source includes a suitable control processor and other circuitry that generates and sends the appropriate command and power signals to the implanted unit to enable it to carry out its intended function.  The external control unit and power source is powered by a battery that supplies electrical power through the ac coil to the implanted unit via inductive coupling for providing power for any necessary signal processing and control circuitry and for electrically stimulating select nerves or muscles.  Efficient power transmission through a patient's skin from the external unit to the implanted unit via inductive coupling requires constant close alignment between the two units.

            Moreover, there are many patients who have received this “initial” type of ICS system, e.g., a cochlear implant system of the type described in United States Patent No. 5,603,726, which system includes both an implantable cochlear stimulator (ICS) attached to an electrode array that is inserted inside of the cochlea, and an external (non-implanted) battery, speech processor and headpiece.  The speech processor (SP) and battery are housed within a wearable unit that is worn or carried by the patient, e.g., on a belt pack. The headpiece includes the external ac coil, a magnet, and a microphone.  It is connected to the wearable unit via a cable.  In use, the headpiece is positioned next to the external skin of the patient in close proximity to the ICS so as to provide efficient inductive coupling thereto.  The magnet properly positions and holds the headpiece against the ICS implant location.  This “initial” type of cochlear implant system allows the patient to easily remove the headpiece by pulling the headpiece away from the skin.  Should the patient be experiencing an unexpected loud stimulation, for example, the removal of the headpiece disconnects and stops the undesired stimulation.

            Another type of ICS s...