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Today electronics are an integral part of medical care and all electronics require electrical power to operate.  The development of new and more sophisticated implantable medical devices is creating a need for a small rechargeable battery with a high rate capability.

Since the first cardiac pacemaker was implanted in 1960, the use of batteries in devices that are implanted has grown into a worldwide market exceeding $4 billion.  While the pacemaker and defibrillator industry is interesting, existing and well established primary batteries meet most of the needs of these segments.  Some new implantable technologies of much interest include:

  • Cochlear Implants
  • Neurostimulators

Hearing loss or deafness is increasingly being treated with cochlear implants.Most cochlear implants use leads that are inserted into the spiraling cochlea with electrodes that activate the auditory nerve.  The lead is then attached to a hearing device.  It is estimated that as many as 34 million people worldwide suffer from hearing loss and that as many as 10,000 cochlear devices have been implanted.  Excellatron has worked with several players in this field on development of batteries to complement their technologies.

Some of the most promising applications of implantable electronic devices are used in the treatment of afflictions of the nervous system.  These devices, commonly called neurostimulators, deliver electrical pulses to specific areas of the central nervous system or directly to the brain.  Neurostimulators are used in the treatment of epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and bladder control, and ongoing research is using these devices to treat spinal injuries in paraplegics.

In addition to the use of implantable medical devices for humans, there are special devices for implantation into animals.  Implants are often used in research for tracking of animals and recording of scientific parameters in their natural habitat.  Further, laboratory animals often receive implanted devices in basic physiology, neurology and other life sciences.  This is an important first step towards FDA approval for human implantable devices.
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