Cardiac Defibrillation with Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Acute patient safety problems have been associated with implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs) used as standard-of-care in this large market (congestive heart failure with risk of ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation) Downstate’s STIL-CD technology provides a safer, “tunable”, less invasive alternative. Unlike the ICD, which employs electrodes through vasculature and entering the heart, STIL-CD stimulates the vagus nerve (efferent fibers, located in the neck) to effect controlled and lower strength current defibrillation. Vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) devices are already used safely to treat seizures. While VNS requires neck surgery for placement of the electrodes on vagus nerves, unlike ICDs, no electrodes enter the heart. The vagus stimulus parameters can be configured and tested in a given patient much more simply and safely than with the existing implantable defibrillators (the STIL-CD does not require induction of fibrillation for configuration). VNS parameters can be set to produce a short period of cardiac standstill (1 or 2 missed beats) and the train length extended with confidence that longer trains will safely effect for cardioversion when required.

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