SOI-MEMS Go Straight to the Heart

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A European leader in pacemakers relies on SOI based accelerometers to adapt pacing to activity level.



On the leading edge of medical technology, accelerometers that detect a person’s activity level are enabling major improvements in pacemakers and other cardiac devices. Pacemakers are used when the heart beats at incorrect levels; but of course, heartbeat varies with activity level. An accelerometer can detect tiny changes in movement and activity level. That information is then used to deliver the appropriate level of electrical stimuli to the patient’s heart.

Part of the billion-dollar Sorin Group (Europe’s largest cardiovascular medical device group), ELA Medical was one of the first in the world to integrate accelerometer technology to improve patient comfort. Since 2000, miniature SOI-MEMS accelerometers from custom components manufacturer TRONICS Microsystems have been integrated into ELA Medical’s line of pacemakers.

TRONICS’ custom-designed, innovative accelerometer design on SOI associated with a patented SMD wafer level packaging provides a higher signal-to-noise ratio and therefore better sensitivity as well as a higher level of miniaturisation ( < 7mm3). In addition, the use of SOI single crystal silicon microstructures brought a higher resistance to mechanical fatigue for this long-term implanted component.

Integrated with a minute ventilation sensor, ELA Medical indicates that the acceleratorenabled pacemaker delivers “the most proportional, specific and sensitive rate”. In real terms, this helps patients walk further and generally have more energy – little things that make a big difference in peoples’ lives.

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