An Implantable Pacemaker Optimized for Smooth Muscle Stimulation

Period of Performance: 09/29/2008 - 09/28/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Virginia Technologies, Inc.
660 Hunters Place
Charlottesville, VA 22911
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The use of a device to electrically stimulate smooth muscle proves particularly useful in clinical applications associated with the gastrointestinal tract. Specifically, electrical stimulation has been shown to be effective in the treatment of indications like gastroparesis and obesity. However, the technology surrounding smooth muscle stimulator devices has not been optimized. This can primarily be attributed to a gap in knowledge and research surrounding the response of smooth muscle to stimulation with various electrical parameters. The long-term objective of this project is to design, build, and commercialize a fully implantable, FDA approved, smooth muscle electrical stimulation device, which incorporates energy saving techniques. The specific aim of Phase I is to experimentally determine the optimal electrical pulse waveform type and pulse duration for the energy efficient stimulation of smooth muscle. In Phase II, these parameters will be incorporated into a commercial prototype. To accomplish the aim, an in vivo rat study will be performed to determine the electrical stimulation current thresholds for contraction at various durations, using rectangular and exponential waveforms. The minimal energy parameters can then be derived from this information. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Functional gastrointestinal and motility disorders cause a decreased quality of life in up to 25% of the U.S. population, and are associated with costs of up to $30 billion annually in the U.S. alone (34). Availability of the proposed energy efficient gastrointestinal electrical stimulation device will help to increase the quality of life associated with gastrointestinal motility disorders.