MEDICAL LEAD HAVING A BANDSTOP FILTER EMPLOYING A CAPACITOR AND AN INDUCTOR TANK CIRCUIT TO ENHANCE MRI COMPATIBILITY – 20120046723

Abstract

A bandstop filter includes a capacitance in parallel with an inductance and is placed in series with the implantable lead of an active implantable medical device, wherein values of capacitance and inductance are selected such that the bandstop filter attenuates RF current flow at a selected center MRI RF pulsed frequency or across a range of frequencies. The Q.sub.i of the inductor and the Q.sub.c of the capacitor are controlled to reduce the overall Q of the bandstop filter to attenuate current flow through the implantable lead along a range of selected frequencies. In a preferred form, the bandstop filter is integrated into a Tip and/or Ring electrode for the active implantable medical device.

Claims

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1. An implantable medical lead comprising: at least one bandstop filter comprising at least a portion of the lead, wherein the bandstop filter comprises a capacitance in parallel with an inductance, wherein values of capacitance and inductance are selected such that the bandstop filter attenuates RF current flows at a selected center frequency or across a range of frequencies; wherein the inductance is inherently derived from the lead’s material of construction or structure; and wherein the capacitance is inherently derived from the lead’s material of construction or structure.

2. The lead of claim 1, wherein the capacitance comprises parasitic capacitance.

3. The lead of claim 1, wherein the bandstop filter comprises at least a part of a coiled or spiral inductor portion of the lead, and the capacitance comprises parasitic capacitance between adjacent turns of said inductor portion.

4. The lead of claim 1, wherein the overall Q of the bandstop filter is selected to balance impedance at the selected frequency versus frequency band width characteristics.

5. The lead of claim 1, wherein a Q.sub.i of the inductance is relatively high and a Q.sub.c of the capacitance is relatively low to reduce the overall Q of the bandstop filter.

6. The lead of claim 5, wherein the Q.sub.i of the inductance is relatively high by lowering resistive loss in the inductance.

7. The lead of claim 5, wherein the Q.sub.c of the capacitance is relatively lowered by raising equivalent series resistance of the capacitance.

8. The lead of claim 1, wherein a Q.sub.i of the inductance element a Q.sub.c of the capacitance element are selected such that the overall Q of the bandstop filter attenuates current flow through the lead at the selected center frequency or across the range of frequencies.

9. The lead of claim 8, wherein the range of frequencies includes a plurality of MRI RF pulsed frequencies.

10. The lead of claim 1, wherein the bandstop filter is disposed at, within or adjacent to a distal Tip electrode.

11. The lead of claim 10, wherein the bandstop filter is integrated into a selected one of a Tip electrode or a Ring electrode.

12. The lead of claim 11, wherein the overall Q of the bandstop filter is lowered to attenuate current flow through the lead across the range of frequencies.

13. The lead of claim 1, wherein a Q.sub.i of the inductance is relatively low and a Q.sub.c of the capacitance is relatively high to reduce the overall Q of the bandstop filter.

14. A medical lead, comprising: a conductor and an electrode contactable with biological cells; and at least one bandstop filter comprising at least a portion of the lead conductor, for attenuation RF current flow through the lead conductor, the bandstop filter further comprising a capacitance in parallel with an inductance; wherein the bandstop filter comprises at least a part of a coiled or spiral inductor portion of the lead conductor, and the capacitance comprises parasitic capacitance between adjacent turns of said inductor portion; and wherein values of capacitance and inductance have been selected such that the bandstop filter attenuates RF current flow at a selected center MRI RF pulsed frequency or across a range of frequencies.

15. The device of claim 14, wherein the overall Q of the bandstop filter is selected to balance impedance at the selected frequency versus frequency band width characteristics.

16. The device of claim 14, wherein the bandstop filter is integrated into a selected one of a Tip electrode or a Ring electrode.

17. The device of claim 14, wherein a Q.sub.i of the inductance is relatively high and a Q.sub.c of the capacitance is relatively low to select the overall Q of the bandstop filter.

18. The device of claim 17, wherein the inductance has a relatively low resistive loss, and wherein the capacitance has a relatively high equivalent series resistance.

19. The device of claim 18, wherein the Q.sub.i of the inductance is relatively high by lowering resistive loss in the inductance.

20. The device of claim 18, wherein the Q.sub.c of the capacitance is relatively lowered by raising equivalent series resistance of the capacitance.

21. The device of claim 14, wherein a Q.sub.i of the inductance element and a Q.sub.c of the capacitance element are selected such that the overall Q of the bandstop filter attenuates current flow through the lead at the selected center frequency or across the range of frequencies.

22. The device of claim 14, wherein the overall Q of the bandstop filter is lowered to attenuate current flow through the lead across a range of selected frequencies.

23. The device of claim 14, wherein the AIMD a comprises cochlear implant, a piezoelectric sound bridge transducer, a neurostimulator, a brain stimulator, a cardiac pacemaker, a ventricular assist device, an artificial heart, a drug pump, a bone growth stimulator, a bone fusion stimulator, a urinary incontinence device, a pain relief spinal cord stimulator, an anti-tremor stimulator, a gastric stimulator, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, a pH probe, a congestive heart failure device, a neuromodulator, or a cardiovascular stent.
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Description

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BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates generally to medical leads of the type used with active implantable medical devices (AIMDs) such as cardiac pacemakers, cardioverter defibrillators, neurostimulators, and the like, which employ a bandstop filter to decouple the implantable leads and/or electronic components of the implantable medical device from undesirable electromagnetic interference (EMI) signals at a selected frequency or across a range of frequencies, such as the RF pulsed fields of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) equipment.

[0002] Compatibility of cardiac pacemakers, implantable defibrillators and other types of active implantable medical devices with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other types of hospital diagnostic equipment has become a major issue. If one goes to the websites of the major cardiac pacemaker manufacturers in the United States, which include St. Jude Medical, Medtronic and Boston Scientific (formerly Guidant), one will see that the use of MRI is generally contra-indicated with pacemakers and implantable defibrillators. See also:

(1) “Safety Aspects of Cardiac Pacemakers in Magnetic Resonance Imaging”, a dissertation submitted to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich presented by Roger Christoph Luchinger, Zurich 2002;

(2) “I. Dielectric Properties of Biological Tissues: Literature Survey”, by C. Gabriel, S. Gabriel and E. Cortout;

(3) “II. Dielectric Properties of Biological Tissues: Measurements and the Frequency Range 0 Hz to 20 GHz”, by S. Gabriel, R. W. Lau and C. Gabriel;

(4) “III. Dielectric Properties of Biological Tissues: Parametric Models for the Dielectric Spectrum of Tissues”, by S. Gabriel, R. W. Lau and C. Gabriel; and

(5) “Advanced Engineering Electromagnetics, C. A. Balanis, Wiley, 1989;

[0003] (6) Systems and Methods for Magnetic-Resonance-Guided Interventional Procedures, U.S. Pat. No. 7,844,319; (7) Multifunctional Interventional Devices for MRI: A Combined Electrophysiology/MRI Catheter, by, Robert C. Susil, Henry R. Halperin, Christopher j. Yeung, Albert C. Lardo and Ergin Atalar, MRI in Medicine, 2002; and (8) Multifunctional Interventional Devices for Use in MRI, U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/283,725, filed Apr. 13, 2001. The contents of the foregoing are all incorporated herein by reference.

[0004] However, an extensive review of the literature indicates that MRI is indeed often used with pacemaker, neurostimulator and other active implantable medical device (AIMD) patients. The safety and feasibility of MRI in patients with cardiac pacemakers is an issue of gaining significance. The effects of MRI on patients’ pacemaker systems have only been analyzed retrospectively in some case reports. There are a number of papers that indicate that MRI on new generation pacemakers can be conducted up to 0.5 Tesla (T). MRI is one of medicine’s most valuable diagnostic tools. MRI is, of course, extensively used for imaging, but is also used for interventional medicine (surgery). In addition, MRI is used in real time to guide ablation catheters, neurostimulator tips, deep brain probes and the like. An absolute contra-indication for pacemaker patients means that pacemaker and ICD wearers are excluded from MRI. This is particularly true of scans of the thorax and abdominal areas. Because of MRI’s incredible value as a diagnostic tool for imaging organs and other body tissues, many physicians simply take the risk and go ahead and perform MRI on a pacemaker patient. The literature indicates a number of precautions that physicians should take in this case, including limiting the power of the MRI RF Pulsed field (Specific Absorption Rate-SAR level), programming the pacemaker to fixed or asynchronous pacing mode, and then careful reprogramming and evaluation of the pacemaker and patient after the procedure is complete. There have been reports of latent problems with cardiac pacemakers or other AIMDs after an MRI procedure sometimes occurring many days later. Moreover, there are a number of recent papers that indicate that the SAR level is not entirely predictive of the heating that would be found in implanted leads or devices. For example, for magnetic resonance imaging devices operating at the same magnetic field strength and also at the same SAR level, considerable variations have been found relative to heating of implanted leads. It is speculated that SAR level alone is not a good predictor of whether or not an implanted device or its associated lead system will overheat.

[0005] There are three types of electromagnetic fields used in an MRI unit. The first type is the main static magnetic field designated B.sub.0 which is used to align protons in body tissue. The field strength varies from 0.5 to 3.0 Tesla in most of the currently available MRI units in clinical use. Some of the newer MRI system fields can go as high as 4 to 5 Tesla. At the recent International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), which was held on 5 and 6 Nov. 2005, it was reported that certain research systems are going up as high as 11.7 Tesla. This is over 100,000 times the magnetic field strength of the earth. A static magnetic field can induce powerful mechanical forces and torque on any magnetic materials implanted within the patient. This would include certain components within the cardiac pacemaker itself and or lead systems. It is not likely (other than sudden system shut down) that the static MRI magnetic field can induce currents into the pacemaker lead system and hence into the pacemaker itself. It is a basic principle of physics that a magnetic field must either be time-varying as it cuts across the conductor, or the conductor itself must move within the magnetic field for currents to be induced.

[0006] The second type of field produced by magnetic resonance imaging is the pulsed RF field which is generated by the body coil or head coil. This is used to change the energy state of the protons and illicit MRI signals from tissue. The RF field is homogeneous in the central region and has two main components: (1) the magnetic field is circularly polarized in the actual plane; and (2) the electric field is related to the magnetic field by Maxwell’s equations. In general, the RF field is switched on and off during measurements and usually has a frequency of 21 MHz to 64 MHz to 128 MHz depending upon the static magnetic field strength. The frequency of the RF pulse varies with the field strength of the main static field where, for a hydrogen MRI system, RF PULSED FREQUENCY in MHz=(42.56) (STATIC FIELD STRENGTH IN TESLA).

[0007] The third type of electromagnetic field is the time-varying magnetic gradient fields designated Bi which are used for spatial localization. These change their strength along different orientations and operating frequencies on the order of 1 kHz. The vectors of the magnetic field gradients in the X, Y and Z directions are produced by three sets of orthogonally positioned coils and are switched on only during the measurements. In some cases, the gradient field has been shown to elevate natural heart rhythms (heart beat). This is not completely understood, but it is a repeatable phenomenon. The gradient field is not considered by many researchers to create any other adverse effects.

[0008] It is instructive to note how voltages and EMI are induced into an implanted lead system. At very low frequency (VLF), voltages are induced at the input to the cardiac pacemaker as currents circulate throughout the patient’s body and create voltage drops. Because of the vector displacement between the pacemaker housing and, for example, the Tip electrode, voltage drop across the resistance of body tissues may be sensed due to Ohms Law and the circulating current of the RF signal. At higher frequencies, the implanted lead systems actually act as antennas where currents are induced along their length. These antennas are not very efficient due to the damping effects of body tissue; however, this can often be offset by extremely high power fields (such as MRI pulsed fields) and/or body resonances. At very high frequencies (such as cellular telephone frequencies), EMI signals are induced only into the first area of the lead system (for example, at the header block of a cardiac pacemaker). This has to do with the wavelength of the signals involved and where they couple efficiently into the system.

[0009] Magnetic field coupling into an implanted lead system is based on loop areas. For example, in a cardiac pacemaker, there is a loop formed by the lead as it comes from the cardiac pacemaker housing to its distal Tip, for example, located in the right ventricle. The return path is through body fluid and tissue generally straight from the Tip electrode in the right ventricle back up to the pacemaker case or housing. This forms an enclosed area which can be measured from patient X-rays in square centimeters. The average loop area is 200 to 225 square centimeters. This is an average and is subject to great statistical variation. For example, in a large adult patient with an abdominal implant, the implanted loop area is much larger (greater than 450 square centimeters).

[0010] Relating now to the specific case of MRI, the magnetic gradient fields would be induced through enclosed loop areas. However, the pulsed RF fields, which are generated by the body coil, would be primarily induced into the lead system by antenna action.

[0011] There are a number of potential problems with MRI, including: [0012] (1) Closure of the pacemaker reed switch. A pacemaker reed switch, which can also be a Hall Effect device, is designed to detect a permanent magnet held close to the patient’s chest. This magnet placement allows a physician or even the patient to put the implantable medical device into what is known as the “magnet mode response.” The “magnet mode response” varies from one manufacturer to another, however, in general, this puts the pacemaker into a fixed rate or asynchronous pacing mode. This is normally done for short times and is very useful for diagnostic and clinical purposes. However, in some cases, when a pacemaker is brought into the bore or close to the MRI scanner, the MRI static field can make the pacemaker’s internal reed switch close, which puts the pacemaker into a fixed rate or asynchronous pacing mode. Worse yet, the reed switch may bounce or oscillate. Asynchronous pacing may compete with the patient’s underlying cardiac rhythm. This is one reason why patients have generally been advised not to undergo MRI. Fixed rate or asynchronous pacing for most patients is not an issue. However, in patients with unstable conditions, such as myocardial ischemia, there is a substantial risk for ventricular fibrillation during asynchronous pacing. In most modern pacemakers the magnetic reed switch (or Hall Effect device) function is programmable. If the magnetic reed switch response is switched off, then synchronous pacing is still possible even in strong magnetic fields. The possibility to open and re-close the reed switch in the main magnetic field by the gradient field cannot be excluded. However, it is generally felt that the reed switch will remain closed due to the powerful static magnetic field. It is theoretically possible for certain reed switch orientations at the gradient field to be capable of repeatedly closing and re-opening the reed switch. [0013] (2) Reed switch damage. Direct damage to the reed switch is theoretically possible, but has not been reported in any of the known literature. In an article written by Roger Christoph Luchinger of Zurich, he reports on testing in which reed switches were exposed to the static magnetic field of MRI equipment. After extended exposure to these static magnetic fields, the reed switches functioned normally at close to the same field strength as before the test. [0014] (3) Pacemaker displacement. Some parts of pacemakers, such as the batteries and reed switch, contain ferrous magnetic materials and are thus subject to mechanical forces during MRI. Pacemaker displacement may occur in response to magnetic force or magnetic torque. There are several recent reports on modern pacemakers and ICDs that force and torque are not of concern for MRI systems up to 3 Tesla. [0015] (4) Radio frequency field. At the frequencies of interest in MRI, RF energy can be absorbed and converted to heat. The power deposited by RF pulses during MRI is complex and is dependent upon the power (Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) Level) and duration of the RF pulse, the transmitted frequency, the number of RF pulses applied per unit time, and the type of configuration of the RF transmitter coil used. The amount of heating also depends upon the volume of tissue imaged, the electrical resistivity of tissue and the configuration of the anatomical region imaged. There are also a number of other variables that depend on the placement in the human body of the AIMD and its associated lead(s). For example, it will make a difference how much current is induced into a pacemaker lead system as to whether it is a left or right pectoral implant. In addition, the routing of the lead and the lead length are also very critical as to the amount of induced current and heating that would occur. Also, distal Tip design is very important as the distal Tip itself can act as its own antenna wherein eddy currents can create heating. The cause of heating in an MRI environment is twofold: (a) RF field coupling to the lead can occur which induces significant local heating; and (b) currents induced between the distal Tip and tissue during MRI RF pulse transmission sequences can cause local Ohms Law heating in tissue next to the distal Tip electrode of the implanted lead. The RF field of an MRI scanner can produce enough energy to induce lead currents sufficient to destroy some of the adjacent myocardial tissue. Tissue ablation has also been observed. The effects of this heating are not readily detectable by monitoring during the MRI. Indications that heating has occurred would include an increase in pacing threshold, venous ablation, Larynx or esophageal ablation, myocardial perforation and lead penetration, or even arrhythmias caused by scar tissue. Such long term heating effects of MRI have not been well studied yet for all types of AIMD lead geometries. There can also be localized heating problems associated with various types of electrodes in addition to Tip electrodes. This includes Ring electrodes or PAD electrodes. Ring electrodes are commonly used with a wide variety of implanted devices including cardiac pacemakers, and neurostimulators, and the like. PAD electrodes are very common in neurostimulator applications. For example, spinal cord stimulators or deep brain stimulators can include a plurality of PAD electrodes to make contact with nerve tissue. A good example of this also occurs in a cochlear implant. In a typical cochlear implant there would be sixteen Ring electrodes that the position places by pushing the electrode up into the cochlea. Several of these Ring electrodes make contact with auditory nerves. [0016] (5) Alterations of pacing rate due to the applied radio frequency field. It has been observed that the RF field may induce undesirable fast pacing (QRS complex) rates. There are various mechanisms which have been proposed to explain rapid pacing: direct tissue stimulation, interference with pacemaker electronics or pacemaker reprogramming (or reset). In all of these cases, it is very desirable to raise the lead system impedance (at the MRI RF pulsed frequency) to make an EMI filter feedthrough capacitor more effective and thereby provide a higher degree of protection to AIMD electronics. This will make alterations in pacemaker pacing rate and/or pacemaker reprogramming much more unlikely. [0017] (6) Time-varying magnetic gradient fields. The contribution of the time-varying gradient to the total strength of the MRI magnetic field is negligible, however, pacemaker systems could be affected because these fields are rapidly applied and removed. The time rate of change of the magnetic field is directly related to how much electromagnetic force and hence current can be induced into a lead system. Luchinger reports that even using today’s gradient systems with a time-varying field up to 50 Tesla per second, the induced currents are likely to stay below the biological thresholds for cardiac fibrillation. A theoretical upper limit for the induced voltage by the time-varying magnetic gradient field is 20 volts. Such a voltage during more than 0.1 milliseconds could be enough energy to directly pace the heart. [0018] (7) Heating. Currents induced by time-varying magnetic gradient fields may lead to local heating. Researchers feel that the calculated heating effect of the gradient field is much less as compared to that caused by the RF field and therefore for the purposes herein may be neglected.

[0019] There are additional problems possible with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). ICDs use different and larger batteries which could cause higher magnetic forces. The programmable sensitivity in ICDs is normally much higher (more sensitive) than it is for pacemakers, therefore, ICDs may falsely detect a ventricular tachyarrhythmia and inappropriately deliver therapy. In this case, therapy might include anti-tachycardia pacing, cardio version or defibrillation (high voltage shock) therapies. MRI magnetic fields may prevent detection of a dangerous ventricular arrhythmia or fibrillation. There can also be heating problems of ICD leads which are expected to be comparable to those of pacemaker leads. Ablation of vascular walls is another concern. Fortunately, ICDs have a sort of built-in fail-safe mechanism. That is, during an MRI procedure, if they inadvertently sense the MRI fields as a dangerous ventricular arrhythmia, the ICD will attempt to charge up and deliver a high voltage shock. However, there is a transformer contained within the ICD that is necessary to function in order to charge up the high-energy storage capacitor contained within the ICD. In the presence of the main static field of the MRI the core of this transformer tends to saturate thereby preventing the high voltage capacitor from charging up. This makes it highly unlikely that an ICD patient undergoing an MRI would receive an inappropriate high voltage shock therapy. While ICDs cannot charge during MRI due to the saturation of their ferro-magnetic transformers, the battery will be effectively shorted and lose life. This is a highly undesirable condition.

[0020] In summary, there are a number of studies that have shown that MRI patients with active implantable medical devices, such as cardiac pacemakers, can be at risk for potential hazardous effects. However, there are a number of reports in the literature that MRI can be safe for imaging of pacemaker patients when a number of precautions are taken (only when an MRI is thought to be an absolute diagnostic necessity). While these anecdotal reports are of interest, however, they are certainly not scientifically convincing that all MRI can be safe. As previously mentioned, just variations in the pacemaker lead length can significantly affect how much heat is generated. From the layman’s point of view, this can be easily explained by observing the typical length of the antenna on a cellular telephone compared to the vertical rod antenna more common on older automobiles. The relatively short antenna on the cell phone is designed to efficiently couple with the very high frequency wavelengths (approximately 950 MHz) of cellular telephone signals. In a typical AM and FM radio in an automobile, these wavelength signals would not efficiently couple to the relatively short antenna of a cell phone. This is why the antenna on the automobile is relatively longer. An analogous situation exists with an AIMD patient in an MRI system. If one assumes, for example, a 3.0 Tesla hydrogen MRI system, which would have an RF pulsed frequency of 128 MHz, there are certain implanted lead lengths that would couple efficiently as fractions of the 128 MHz wavelength. It is typical that a hospital will maintain an inventory of various leads and that the implanting physician will make a selection depending on the size of the patient, implant location and other factors. Accordingly, the implanted or effective lead length can vary considerably. There are certain implanted lead lengths that just do not couple efficiently with the MRI frequency and there are others that would couple very efficiently and thereby produce the worst case for heating.

[0021] The effect of an MRI system on the function of pacemakers, ICDs and neurostimulators depends on various factors, including the strength of the static magnetic field, the pulse sequence (gradient and RF field used), the anatomic region being imaged, and many other factors. Further complicating this is the fact that each patient’s condition and physiology is different and each manufacturer’s pacemaker and ICD designs also are designed and behave differently. Most experts still conclude that MRI for the pacemaker patient should not be considered safe. Paradoxically, this also does not mean that the patient should not receive MRI. The physician must make an evaluation given the pacemaker patient’s condition and weigh the potential risks of MRI against the benefits of this powerful diagnostic tool. As MRI technology progresses, including higher field gradient changes over time applied to thinner tissue slices at more rapid imagery, the situation will continue to evolve and become more complex. An example of this paradox is a pacemaker patient who is suspected to have a cancer of the lung. RF ablation treatment of such a tumor may require stereotactic imaging only made possible through real time fine focus MRI. With the patient’s life literally at risk, the physician with patient informed consent may make the decision to perform MRI in spite of all of the previously described attendant risks to the pacemaker system.

[0022] Insulin drug pump systems do not seem to be of a major current concern due to the fact that they have no significant antenna components (such as implanted leads). However, some implantable pumps work on magneto-peristaltic systems, and must be deactivated prior to MRI. There are newer (unreleased) systems that would be based on solenoid systems which will have similar problems.

[0023] It is clear that MRI will continue to be used in patients with active implantable medical devices. Accordingly, there is a need for AIMD system and/or circuit protection devices which will improve the immunity of active implantable medical device systems to diagnostic procedures such as MRI.

[0024] As one can see, many of the undesirable effects in an implanted lead system from MRI and other medical diagnostic procedures are related to undesirable induced currents in the lead system and/or its distal Tip (or Ring). This can lead to overheating either in the lead or at the body tissue at the distal Tip. For a pacemaker application, these currents can also directly stimulate the heart into sometimes dangerous arrhythmias.

[0025] Accordingly, there is a need for a novel resonant tank or bandstop filter assembly which can be placed at various locations along the active implantable medical device lead system, which also prevents current from circulating at selected frequencies of the medical therapeutic device. Preferably, such novel tank filters would be designed to resonate at 64 MHz for use in a hydrogen MRI system operating at 1.5 Tesla (or 128 MHz for a hydrogen 3 Tesla system). The present invention fulfills these needs and provides other related advantages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0026] The present invention comprises resonant tank circuits/bandstop filters to be placed at one or more locations along the active implantable medical device (AIMD) lead system, including its distal Tip. These bandstop filters prevent current from circulating at selected frequencies of the medical therapeutic device. For example, for an MRI system operating at 1.5 Tesla, the pulse RF frequency is 64 MHz. The novel bandstop filters of the present invention can be designed to resonate at 64 MHz and thus create an open circuit in the implanted lead system at that selected frequency. For example, the bandstop filter of the present invention, when placed at the distal Tip electrode, will prevent currents from flowing through the distal Tip electrode, prevent currents from flowing in the implanted leads and also prevent currents from flowing into body tissue. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that all of the embodiments described herein are equally applicable to a wide range of other active implantable medical devices, including deep brain stimulators, spinal cord stimulators, cochlear implants, ventricular assist devices, artificial hearts, drug pumps, and the like. The present invention fulfills all of the needs regarding reduction or elimination of undesirable currents and associated heating in implanted lead systems.

[0027] Electrically engineering a capacitor in parallel with an inductor is known as a tank filter. It is also well known that when the tank filter is at its resonant frequency, it will present a very high impedance. This is a basic principle of all radio receivers. In fact, multiple tank filters are often used to improve the selectivity of a radio receiver. One can adjust the resonant frequency of the tank circuit by either adjusting the capacitor value or the inductor value or both. Since medical diagnostic equipment which is capable of producing very large fields operates at discrete frequencies, this is an ideal situation for a specific tank or bandstop filter. Bandstop filters are more efficient for eliminating one single frequency than broadband filters. Because the bandstop filter is targeted to provide attenuation to induced RF current at this one selected center frequency or across a range of frequencies, it can be much smaller and volumetrically efficient suitable for incorporation into an implantable medical device. In addition, the way MRI RF pulsed fields couple with lead systems, various loops and associated loop currents result along various sections of the implanted lead. For example, at the distal Tip electrode of a cardiac pacemaker, direct electromagnetic forces (EMF) can be produced which result in current loops through the distal Tip electrode and into the associated myocardial tissue. This current system is largely decoupled from the currents that are induced near the active implantable medical device, for example, near the cardiac pacemaker. There the MRI may set up a separate loop with its associated currents. Accordingly, one or more bandstop filters may be required to completely control all of the various induced EMI and associated currents in an implantable lead system.

[0028] The present invention which resides in bandstop filters is also designed to work in concert with the EMI filter which is typically used at the point of lead ingress and egress of the active implantable medical device. For example, see U.S. Pat. No. 5,333,095;U.S. Pat. No. 6,999,818; U.S. Pat. No. 7,765,005; US 2007/0083244-A1; the contents of all being incorporated herein by reference. All of these patent documents describe novel inductor capacitor combinations for low pass EMI filter circuits. It is of particular interest that by increasing the number of circuit elements, one can reduce the overall capacitance value which is at the input to the implantable medical device. It is important to reduce the capacitance value to raise the input impedance of the active implantable medical device such that this also reduces the amount of current that would flow in lead systems associated with medical procedures such as MRI.

[0029] In one embodiment, an implantable lead comprises at least one bandstop filter comprising at least a portion of the lead, for attenuating current flow through the lead at a selected center frequency or across a range of frequencies. The bandstop filter comprises a capacitance in parallel with an inductance, wherein values of capacitance and inductance are selected such that the bandstop filter is resonant at the selected center frequency. The inductance is inherently derived from the lead’s material of construction or structure, and the capacitance is inherently derived from the lead’s material of construction or structure. The bandstop filter may be disposed at, within or adjacent to a distal electrode of the lead. Moreover, the bandstop filter may be integrated into a selected tip electrode or a Ring electrode. The overall Q of the bandstop filter may also be lowered to attenuate current flow through the lead across a range of selected frequencies. The range of frequencies preferably includes a plurality of MRI RF pulsed frequencies.

[0030] The overall Q of the bandstop filter is typically selected to balance impedance at the selected center frequency versus frequency bandwidth characteristics. A Q.sub.i of the inductance is provided to be relatively high and a Q.sub.c of the capacitance is provided to be relatively low to reduce the overall Q of the bandstop filter. The Q.sub.i of the inductance is provided to be relatively high by lowering the resistive loss of the inductance. The Q.sub.c of the capacitance is relatively lowered by raising the equivalent series resistance of the capacitance. The Q.sub.i of the inductance element and the Q.sub.c of the capacitance element may be selected such that the overall Q of the bandstop filter attenuates current flow through the lead at the selected center frequency or across the range of frequencies. The Q.sub.i of the inductance may also be relatively lowered and the Q.sub.c of the capacitance may be relatively increased to reduce the overall Q of the bandstop filter.

[0031] The novel lead of the present invention finds particular application with active implantable medical devices (AIMDs), such as cochlear implants, piezoelectric soundbridge transducers, neurostimulators, brain stimulators, cardiac pacemakers, ventricular assist devices, artificial hearts, drug pumps, bone growth stimulators, bone fusion stimulators, urinary incontinence devices, pain relief spinal cord stimulators, anti-tremor stimulators, gastric stimulators, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, congestive heart failure devices, neuromodulators, and the like.

[0032] The bandstop filter may comprise at least a part of a coiled or spiral inductor portion of the lead. In this case, the capacitance comprises parasitic capacitance between adjacent turns of said inductor portion.

[0033] Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0034] The accompanying drawings illustrate the invention. In such drawings:

[0035] FIG. 1 is a wire-formed diagram of a generic human body showing a number of active implantable medical devices (AIMDs);

[0036] FIG. 2 is a perspective and somewhat schematic view of a prior art active implantable medical device (AIMD) including a lead directed to the heart of a patient;

[0037] FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view taken generally along the line 3-3 of FIG. 2;

[0038] FIG. 4 is a view taken generally along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3;

[0039] FIG. 5 is a perspective/isometric view of a prior art rectangular quadpolar feedthrough capacitor of the type shown in FIGS. 3 and 4;

[0040] FIG. 6 is sectional view taken generally along the line 6-6 of FIG. 5;

[0041] FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken generally along the line 7-7 of FIG. 5;

[0042] FIG. 8 is a diagram of a unipolar active implantable medical device;

[0043] FIG. 9 is a diagram similar to FIG. 8, illustrating a bipolar AIMD system;

[0044] FIG. 10 is a diagram similar to FIGS. 8 and 9, illustrating a bipolar lead system with a distal Tip and Ring, typically used in a cardiac pacemaker;

[0045] FIG. 11 is a schematic diagram showing a parallel combination of an inductor L and a capacitor C placed in series with the lead systems of FIGS. 8-10;

[0046] FIG. 12 is a chart illustrating calculation of frequency of resonance for the parallel tank circuit of FIG. 11;

[0047] FIG. 13 is a graph showing impedance versus frequency for the parallel tank bandstop circuit of FIG. 11;

[0048] FIG. 14 is an equation for the impedance of an inductor in parallel with a capacitor;

[0049] FIG. 15 is a chart illustrating reactance equations for the inductor and the capacitor of the parallel tank circuit of FIG. 11;

[0050] FIG. 16 is a schematic diagram illustrating the parallel tank circuit of FIG. 11, except in this case the inductor and the capacitor have series resistive losses;

[0051] FIG. 17 is a diagram similar to FIG. 8, illustrating the tank circuit/bandstop filter added near a distal electrode;

[0052] FIG. 18 is a schematic representation of the novel bandstop tank filter of the present invention, using switches to illustrate its function at various frequencies;

[0053] FIG. 19 is a schematic diagram similar to FIG. 18, illustrating the low frequency model of the bandstop filter;

[0054] FIG. 20 is a schematic diagram similar to FIGS. 18 and 19, illustrating the model of the bandstop filter of the present invention at its resonant frequency;

[0055] FIG. 21 is a schematic diagram similar to FIGS. 18-20, illustrating a model of the bandstop filter at high frequencies well above the resonant frequency;

[0056] FIG. 22 is a decision tree block diagram illustrating a process for designing the bandstop filters of the present invention;

[0057] FIG. 23 is graph of insertion loss versus frequency for bandstop filters having high Q inductors and differing quality “Q” factors;

[0058] FIG. 24 is a tracing of an exemplary patient x-ray showing an implanted pacemaker and cardioverter defibrillator and corresponding lead system;

[0059] FIG. 25 is a line drawings of an exemplary patent cardiac x-ray of a bi-ventricular lead system;

[0060] FIG. 26 illustrates a bipolar cardiac pacemaker lead showing the distal Tip and the distal Ring electrodes;

[0061] FIG. 27 is an enlarged, fragmented schematic illustration of the area illustrated by the line 27-27 in FIG. 26; and

[0062] FIG. 28 is a schematic illustration of the area 28-28 from FIG. 26, illustrating how inductive coil parasitic capacitance is utilized to form the bandstop filters of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0063] FIG. 1 is a wire formed diagram of a generic human body and illustrates of various types of active implantable medical devices 100 that are currently in use. 100A is a family of implantable hearing devices which can include the group of cochlear implants, piezoelectric sound bridge transducers and the like. 1008 includes an entire variety of neurostimulators and brain stimulators. Neurostimulators are used to stimulate the Vagus nerve, for example, to treat epilepsy, obesity and depression. Brain stimulators are similar to a pacemaker-like device and include electrodes implanted deep into the brain for sensing the onset of the seizure and also providing electrical stimulation to brain tissue to prevent the seizure from actually happening. 100C shows a cardiac pacemaker which is well-known in the art. 100D includes the family of left ventricular assist devices (LVAD’s), and artificial hearts, including the recently introduced artificial heart known as the Abiocor. 100E includes an entire family of drug pumps which can be used for dispensing of insulin, chemotherapy drugs, pain medications and the like. Insulin pumps are evolving from passive devices to ones that have sensors and closed loop systems. That is, real time monitoring of blood sugar levels will occur. These devices tend to be more sensitive to EMI than passive pumps that have no sense circuitry or externally implanted leads. 100F includes a variety of implantable bone growth stimulators for rapid healing of fractures. 100G includes urinary incontinence devices. 100H includes the family of pain relief spinal cord stimulators and anti-tremor stimulators. 100H also includes an entire family of other types of neurostimulators used to block pain. 100I includes a family of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) devices and also includes the family of congestive heart failure devices (CHF). This is also known in the art as cardio resynchronization therapy devices, otherwise known as CRT devices.

[0064] It will be appreciated for purposes of the present invention that the active implantable medical devices and associated lead systems to which the present invention applies are typically permanently or semi-permanently implanted within the body. The lead systems for such AIMDs cannot be easily removed temporarily for purposes of conducting an MRI scan on a patient. In contrast, probes and some forms of catheters may be temporarily inserted into the body, but are quite easy to withdraw during an MRI scan and thus obviate the need for the safeguards provided by the present invention.

[0065] Referring now to FIG. 2, a prior art active implantable medical device (AIMD) 100 is illustrated. In general, the AIMD 100 could, for example, be a cardiac pacemaker 100C which is enclosed by a titanium housing 102 as indicated. The titanium housing is hermetically sealed, however there is a point where lead wires 104 must ingress and egress the hermetic seal. This is accomplished by providing a hermetic terminal assembly 106. Hermetic terminal assemblies are well known and generally consist of a ferrule 108 which is laser welded to the titanium housing 102 of the AIMD 100. The hermetic terminal assembly 106 with its associated EMI filter is better shown in FIG. 3. Referring once again to FIG. 2, four leads are shown consisting of lead wire pair 104a and 104b and lead wire pair 104c and 104d. This is typical of what’s known as a dual chamber bipolar cardiac pacemaker.

[0066] The IS1 connectors 110 that are designed to plug into the header block 112 are low voltage (pacemaker) connectors covered by an ANSI/AAMI standard IS-1. Higher voltage devices, such as implantable cardioverter defibrillators, are covered by a standard known as the ANSI/AAMI DF-1. There is a new standard under development which will integrate both high voltage and low voltage connectors into a new miniature connector series known as the IS-4 series. These connectors are typically routed in a pacemaker application down into the right ventricle and right atrium of the heart 114. There are also new generation devices that have been introduced to the market that couple leads to the outside of the left ventricle. These are known as biventricular devices and are very effective in cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) and treating congestive heart failure (CHF).

[0067] Referring once again to FIG. 2, one can see, for example, the bipolar lead wires 104a and 104b that could be routed, for example, to the distal Tip and Ring into the right ventricle. The bipolar lead wires 104c and 104d could be routed to a distal Tip and Ring in the right atrium. There is also an RF telemetry pin antenna 116 which is not connected to the IS-1 or DS-1 connector block. This acts as a short stub antenna for picking up telemetry signals that are transmitted from the outside of the device 100.

[0068] It should also be apparent to those skilled in the art that all of the descriptions herein are equally applicable to other types of AIMDs. These include implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), neurostimulators, including deep brain stimulators, spinal cord stimulators, cochlear implants, incontinence stimulators and the like, and drug pumps.

[0069] FIG. 3 is an enlarged, fragmented cross-sectional view taken generally along line 3-3 of FIG. 2. Here one can see in cross-section the RF telemetry pin 116 and the bipolar leads 104a and 104c which would be routed to the cardiac chambers by connecting these leads to the internal connectors 118 of the IS-1 header block 112 (FIG. 2). These connectors are designed to receive the plug 110 which allows the physicians to thread leads through the venous system down into the appropriate chambers of the heart 114. It will be obvious to those skilled in the art that tunneling of deep brain electrodes or neurostimulators are equivalent.

[0070] Referring back to FIG. 3, one can see a prior art feedthrough capacitor 120 which has been bonded to the hermetic terminal assembly 106. These feedthrough capacitors are well known in the art and are described and illustrated in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,333,095, 5,751,539, 5,905,627, 5,959,829, 5,973,906, 5,978,204, 6,008,980, 6,159,560, 6,275,369, 6,424,234, 6,456,481, 6,473,291, 6,529,103, 6,566,978, 6,567,259, 6,643,903, 6,675,779, 6,765,780 and 6,882,248. In this case, a rectangular quadpolar feedthrough capacitor 120 is illustrated which has an external metalized termination surface 122. It includes embedded electrode plate sets 124 and 126. Electrode plate set 124 is known as the ground electrode plate set and is terminated at the outside of the capacitor 120 at the termination surface 122. These ground electrode plates 124 are electrically and mechanically connected to the ferrule 108 of the hermetic terminal assembly 106 using a thermosetting conductive polyimide or equivalent material 128 (equivalent materials will include solders, brazes, conductive epoxies and the like). In turn, the hermetic seal terminal assembly 106 is designed to have its titanium ferrule 108 laser welded 130 to the overall housing 102 of the AIMD 100. This forms a continuous hermetic seal thereby preventing body fluids from penetrating into and causing damage to the electronics of the AIMD.

[0071] It is also essential that the leads 104 and insulator 136 be hermetically sealed, such as by the gold brazes or glass seals132 and 134. The gold braze 132 wets from the titanium ferrule 108 to the alumina ceramic insulator 136. In turn, the ceramic alumina insulator 136 is also gold brazed at 134 to each of the leads 104. The RF telemetry pin 116 is also gold brazed at 138 to the alumina ceramic insulator 136. It will be obvious to those skilled in the art that there are a variety of other ways of making such a hermetic terminal. This would include glass sealing the leads into the ferrule directly without the need for the gold brazes.

[0072] As shown in FIG. 3, the RF telemetry pin 116 has not been included in the area of the feedthrough capacitor 120. The reason for this is the feedthrough capacitor 120 is a very broadband single element EMI filter which would eliminate the desirable telemetry frequency.

[0073] FIG. 4 is a bottom view taken generally along line 4-4 in FIG. 3. One can see the gold braze 132 which completely seals the hermetic terminal insulator 136 into the overall titanium ferrule 108. One can also see the overlap of the capacitor attachment materials, shown as a thermosetting conductive adhesive 128, which makes contact to the gold braze 132 that forms the hermetic terminal 106.

[0074] FIG. 5 is an isometric view of the feedthrough capacitor 120. As one can see, the termination surface 122 connects to the capacitor’s internal ground plate set 124. This is best seen in FIG. 6 where ground plate set 124, which is typically silk-screened onto ceramic layers, is brought out and exposed to the termination surface 122. The capacitor’s four (quadpolar) active electrode plate sets 126 are illustrated in FIG. 7. In FIG. 6 one can see that the leads 104 are in non-electrical communication with the ground electrode plate set 124. However, in FIG. 7 one can see that each one of the leads 104 is in electrical contact with its corresponding active electrode plate set 126. The amount of capacitance is determined by the overlap of the active electrode plate area 126 over the ground electrode plate area. One can increase the amount of capacitance by increasing the area of the active electrode plate set 126. One can also increase the capacitance by adding additional layers. In this particular application, we are only showing six electrode layers: three ground plates 124 and three active electrode plate sets 126 (FIG. 3). However, 10, 60 or even more than 100 such sets can be placed in parallel thereby greatly increasing the capacitance value. The capacitance value is also related to the dielectric thickness or spacing between the ground electrode set 124 and the active electrode set 126. Reducing the dielectric thickness increases the capacitance significantly while at the same time reducing its voltage rating. This gives the designer many degrees of freedom in selecting the capacitance value.

[0075] In the following description, functionally equivalent elements shown in various embodiments will often be referred to utilizing the same reference number.

[0076] FIG. 8 is a general diagram of a unipolar active implantable medical device system 100. The housing 102 of the active implantable medical device 100 is typically titanium, ceramic, stainless steel or the like. Inside of the device housing are the AIMD electronic circuits. Usually AIMDs include a battery, but that is not always the case. For example, for a Bion, it can receive its energy from an external pulsing magnetic field. A lead 104 is routed from the AIMD 100 to a point 140 where it is embedded in or affixed to body tissue. In the case of a spinal cord stimulator 100H, the distal tip 140 could be in the spinal cord. In the case of a deep brain stimulator 1008, the distal electrode 140 would be placed deep into the brain, etc. In the case of a cardiac pacemaker 100C, the distal electrode 140 would typically be placed in the cardiac right ventricle.

[0077] FIG. 9 is very similar to FIG. 8 except that it is a bipolar system. In this case, the electric circuit return path is between the two distal electrodes 140 and 140′. In the case of a cardiac pacemaker 100C, this would be known as a bipolar lead system with one of the electrodes known as the distal Tip electrode 142 and the other electrode which would float in the blood pool known as the Ring electrode 144 (see FIG. 10). In contrast, the electrical return path in FIG. 8 is between the distal electrode 140 through body tissue to the conductive housing 102 of the implantable medical device 100.

[0078] FIG. 10 illustrates a bipolar lead system with a distal Tip electrode 142 and Ring electrode 144 typically as used in a cardiac pacemaker 100C. In all of these applications, the patient could be exposed to the fields of an MRI scanner or other powerful emitter used during a medical diagnostic procedure. Currents that are directly induced in the lead system 104 can cause heating by I.sup.2R losses in the lead system or by heating caused by current flowing in body tissue. If these currents become excessive, the associated heating can cause damage or even destructive ablation to body tissue.

[0079] The distal Tip electrode 142 is designed to be implanted into or affixed to the actual myocardial tissue of the heart. The Ring electrode 144 is designed to float in the blood pool. Because the blood is flowing and is thermally conductive, the Ring electrode 144 structure is substantially cooled. In theory, however, if the lead curves, the Ring electrode 144 could also touch and become encapsulated by body tissue. The distal Tip electrode 142, on the other hand, is always thermally insulated by surrounding body tissue and can readily heat up due to the RF pulse currents of an MRI field.

[0080] FIG. 11 is a schematic diagram showing a parallel combination of an inductor L and a capacitor C to be placed in the implantable lead systems 104 previously described. This combination forms a parallel tank circuit or bandstop filter 146 which will resonate at a particular frequency (f.sub.r).

[0081] FIG. 12 gives the frequency of resonance equation f.sub.r for the parallel tank circuit 146 of FIG. 11: where f.sub.r is the frequency of resonance in hertz, L is the inductance in henries and C is the capacitance in farads. MRI systems vary in static field strength from 0.5 Tesla all the way up to 3 Tesla with newer research machines going much higher. This is the force of the main static magnetic field. The frequency of the pulsed RF field associated with MRI is found by multiplying the static field in Teslas times 42.45. Accordingly, a 3 Tesla MRI system has a pulsed RF field of approximately 128 MHz.

[0082] Referring once again to FIG. 11, one can see that if the values of the inductor and the capacitor are selected properly, one could obtain a parallel tank resonant frequency of 128 MHz. For a 1.5 Tesla MRI system, the RF pulse frequency is 64 MHz. Referring to FIG. 12, one can see the calculations assuming that the inductor value L is equal to one nanohenry. The one nanohenry comes from the fact that given the small geometries involved inside of the human body, a very large inductor will not be possible. This is in addition to the fact that the use of ferrite materials or iron cores for such an inductor are not practical for two reasons: 1) the static magnetic field from the MRI scanner would align the magnetic dipoles (saturate) in such a ferrite and therefore make the inductor ineffective; and 2) the presence of ferrite materials will cause severe MRI image artifacts. What this means is that if one were imaging the right ventricle of the heart, for example, a fairly large area of the image would be blacked out or image distorted due to the presence of these ferrite materials and the way it interacts with the MRI field. It is also important that the inductance value not vary while in the presence of the main static field.

[0083] The relationship between the parallel inductor L and capacitor C is also very important. One could use, for example, a very large value of inductance which would result in a very small value of capacitance to be resonant, for example, at the MRI frequency of 64 MHz. However, using a very high value of inductor results in a high number of turns of very small wire. Using a high number of turns of very small diameter wire is contraindicated for two reasons. The first reason is that the long length of relatively small diameter wire results in a very high DC resistance for the inductor. This resistance is very undesirable because low frequency pacing or neurostimulator pulses would lose energy passing through the relatively high series resistance. This is also undesirable where the AIMD is sensing biologic signals. For example, in the case of a pacemaker or deep brain stimulator, continuous sensing of low frequency biological signals is required. Too much series resistance in a lead system will attenuate such signals thereby making the AIMD less efficient. Accordingly, it is a preferred feature of the present invention that a relatively large value of capacitance will be used in parallel with a relatively small value of inductance, for example, employing highly volumetrically efficient ceramic dielectric capacitors that can create a great deal of capacitance in a very small space.

[0084] It should be also noted that below resonance, particularly at very low frequencies, the current in the parallel L-C band width stop filter passes through the inductor element. Accordingly, it is important that the parasitic resistance of the inductor element be quite low. Conversely, at very low frequencies, no current passes through the capacitor element. At high frequencies, the reactance of the capacitor element drops to a very low value. However, as there is no case where it is actually desirable to have high frequencies pass through the tank filter, the parasitic resistive loss of the capacitor is not particularly important. This is also known as the capacitor’s equivalent series resistance (ESR). A component of capacitor ESR is the dissipation factor of the capacitor (a low frequency phenomena). Off of resonance, it is not particularly important how high the capacitor’s dissipation factor or overall ESR is when used as a component of a parallel tank circuit 146 as described herein. Accordingly, an air wound inductor is the ideal choice because it is not affected by MRI signals or fields. Because of the space limitations, however, the inductor will not be very volumetrically efficient. For this reason, it is preferable to keep the inductance value relatively low (in the order of 1 to 100 nanohenries).

[0085] Referring once again to FIG. 12, one can see the calculations for capacitance by algebraically solving the resonant frequency f.sub.r equation shown for C. Assuming an inductance value of one nanohenry, one can see that 6 nano-farads of capacitance would be required. Six nano-farads of capacitance is a relatively high value of capacitance. However, ceramic dielectrics that provide a very high dielectric constant are well known in the art and are very volumetrically efficient. They can also be made of biocompatible materials making them an ideal choice for use in the present invention.

[0086] FIG. 13 is a graph showing impedance versus frequency for the parallel tank, bandstop filter circuit 146 of FIG. 11. As one can see, using ideal circuit components, the impedance measured between points A and B for the parallel tank circuit 146 shown in FIG. 11 is very low (zero) until one approaches the resonant frequency f.sub.r. At the frequency of resonance, these ideal components combine together to look like a very high or, ideally, an infinite impedance. The reason for this comes from the denominator of the equation Z.sub.ab for the impedance for the inductor in parallel with the capacitor shown as FIG. 14. When the inductive reactance is equal to the capacitive reactance, the two imaginary vectors cancel each other and go to zero. Referring to the equations in FIGS. 14 and 15, one can see in the impedance equation for Z.sub.ab, that a zero will appear in the denominator when X.sub.L=X.sub.C. This has the effect of making the impedance approach infinity as the denominator approaches zero. As a practical matter, one does not really achieve an infinite impedance. However, tests have shown that several hundred ohms can be realized which offers a great deal of attenuation and protection to RF pulsed currents from MRI. What this means is that at one particular unique frequency, the impedance between points A and B in FIG. 11 will appear very high (analogous to opening a switch). Accordingly, it would be possible, for example, in the case of a cardiac pacemaker, to design the cardiac pacemaker for compatibility with one single popular MRI system. For example, in the AIMD patient literature and physician manual it could be noted that the pacemaker lead system has been designed to be compatible with 3 Tesla MRI systems. Accordingly, with this particular device, a distal Tip bandstop filter 146 would be incorporated where the L and the C values have been carefully selected to be resonant at 128 MHz, presenting a high or almost infinite impedance at the MRI pulse frequency.

[0087] FIG. 16 is a schematic drawing of the parallel tank circuit 146 of FIG. 11, except in this case the inductor L and the capacitor C are not ideal. That is, the capacitor C has its own internal resistance R.sub.C, which is otherwise known in the industry as dissipation factor or equivalent series resistance (ESR). The inductor L also has a resistance R.sub.L. For those that are experienced in passive components, one would realize that the inductor L would also have some parallel capacitance. This parasitic capacitance comes from the capacitance associated with adjacent turns. However, the inductance value contemplated is so low that one can assume that at MRI pulse frequencies, the inductor’s parallel capacitance is negligible. One could also state that the capacitor C also has some internal inductance which would appear in series. However, the novel capacitors described below are very small or coaxial and have negligible series inductance. Accordingly, the circuit shown in FIG. 16 is a very good approximation model for the novel parallel tank circuits 146 as described herein.

[0088] This is best understood by looking at the FIG. 16 circuit 146 at the frequency extremes. At very low frequency, the inductor reactance equation is X.sub.L=2.pi.fL (reference FIG. 15). When the frequency f is close to zero (DC), this means that the inductor looks like a short circuit. It is generally the case that biologic signals are low frequency, typically between 10 Hz and 1000 Hz. For example, in a cardiac pacemaker 100C, all of the frequencies of interest appear between 10 Hz and 1000 Hz. At these low frequencies, the inductive reactance X.sub.L will be very close to zero ohms. Over this range, on the other hand, the capacitive reactance X.sub.C which has the equation X.sub.C=1/(2.pi.fc) will look like an infinite or open circuit (reference FIG. 15). As such, at low frequencies, the impedance between points A and B in FIG. 16 will equal to R.sub.L. Accordingly, the resistance of the inductor (R.sub.L) should be kept as small as possible to minimize attenuation of biologic signals or attenuation of stimulation pulses to body tissues. This will allow biologic signals to pass through the bandstop filter 146 freely. It also indicates that the amount of capacitive loss R.sub.C is not particularly important. As a matter of fact, it would be desirable if that loss were fairly high so as to not freely pass very high frequency signals (such as undesirable EMI from cellular phones). It is also desirable to have the Q of the circuit shown in FIG. 16 relatively low so that the bandstop frequency bandwidth can be a little wider. In other words, in a preferred embodiment, it would be possible to have a bandstop wide enough to block both 64 MHz and 128 MHz frequencies thereby making the medical device compatible for use in both 1.5 Tesla and 3 Tesla MRI systems.

[0089] FIG. 17 is a drawing of the unipolar AIMD lead system, previously shown in FIG. 8, with the bandstop filter 146 of the present invention added near the distal electrode 140. As previously described, the presence of the tank circuit 146 will present a very high impedance at one or more specific MRI RF pulse frequencies. This will prevent currents from circulating through the distal electrode 140 into body tissue at this selected frequency(s). This will provide a very high degree of important protection to the patient so that overheating does not cause tissue damage.

[0090] FIG. 18 is a representation of the novel bandstop tank filter 146 using switches that open and close at various frequencies to illustrate its function. Inductor L has been replaced with a switch S.sub.L. When the impedance of the inductor is quite low, the switch S.sub.L will be closed. When the impedance or inductive reactance of the inductor is high, the switch S.sub.L will be shown open. There is a corresponding analogy for the capacitor element C. When the capacitive reactance looks like a very low impedance, the capacitor switch S.sub.C will be shown closed. When the capacitive reactance is shown as a very high impedance, the switch S.sub.C will be shown open. This analogy is best understood by referring to FIGS. 19, 20 and 21.

[0091] FIG. 19 is the low frequency model of the bandstop filter 146. At low frequencies, capacitors tend to look like open circuits and inductors tend to look like short circuits. Accordingly, switch S.sub.L is closed and switch S.sub.C is open. This is an indication that at frequencies below the resonant frequency of the bandstop filter 146 that currents will flow only through the inductor element and its corresponding resistance R.sub.L. This is an important consideration for the present invention that low frequency biological signals not be attenuated. For example, in a cardiac pacemaker, frequencies of interest generally fall between 10 Hz and 1000 Hz. Pacemaker pacing pulses fall within this general frequency range. In addition, the implantable medical device is also sensing biological frequencies in the same frequency range. Accordingly, such signals must be able to flow readily through the bandstop filter’s inductor element. A great deal of attention should be paid to the inductor design so that it has a very high quality factor (Q.sub.i) and a very low value of parasitic series resistance R.sub.L.

[0092] FIG. 20 is a model of the novel bandstop filter 146 at its resonant frequency. By definition, when a parallel tank circuit is at resonance, it presents a very high impedance to the overall circuit. Accordingly, both switches S.sub.L and S.sub.C are shown open. For example, this is how the bandstop filter 146 prevents the flow of MRI currents through pacemaker leads and/or into body tissue at a selected MRI RF pulsed frequency.

[0093] FIG. 21 is a model of the bandstop filter 146 at high frequency. At high frequencies, inductors tend to look like open circuits. Accordingly, switch S.sub.L is shown open. At high frequencies, ideal capacitors tend to look like short circuits, hence switch S.sub.C is closed. It should be noted that real capacitors are not ideal and tend to degrade in performance at high frequency. This is due to the capacitor’s equivalent series inductance and equivalent series resistance. Fortunately, for the present invention, it is not important how lossy (resistive) the capacitor element C gets at high frequency. This will only serve to attenuate unwanted electromagnetic interference from flowing in the lead system. Accordingly, in terms of biological signals, the equivalent series resistance R.sub.C and resulting quality factor of the capacitor element C is not nearly as important as the quality factor of the inductor element L. The equation for inductive reactance (X.sub.L) is given in FIG. 15. The capacitor reactance equation (X.sub.C) is also given in FIG. 15. As one can see, when one inserts zero or infinity for the frequency, one derives the fact that at very low frequencies inductors tend to look like short circuits and capacitors tend to look like open circuits. By inserting a very high frequency into the same equations, one can see that at very high frequency ideal inductors look like an infinite or open impedance and ideal capacitors look like a very low or short circuit impedance.

[0094] FIG. 22 is a decision tree block diagram that better illustrates the design process herein. Block 148 is an initial decision step the designer must make. For illustrative purposes, we will start with a value of capacitance that is convenient. This value of capacitance is generally going to relate to the amount of space available in the AIMD lead system and other factors. These values for practical purposes generally range in capacitance value from a few tens of picofarads up to about 10,000 picofarads. This puts practical boundaries on the amount of capacitance that can be effectively packaged within the scope of the present invention. However, that is not intended to limit the general principles of the present invention, but just describe a preferred embodiment. Accordingly, in the preferred embodiment, one will select capacitance values generally ranging from 100 picofarads up to about 4000 picofarads and then solve for a corresponding inductance value required to be self-resonant at the selected telemetry frequency. Referring back to FIG. 22, one makes the decision whether the design was C first or L first. If one makes a decision to assume a capacitance value C first then one is directed to the left to block 150. In block 150, one does an assessment of the overall packaging requirements of a distal Tip 142 bandstop filter 146 and then assumes a realizable capacitance value. So, in decision block 150, we assume a capacitor value. We then solve the resonant tank equation f.sub.r from FIG. 12 at block 152 for the required value of inductance (L). We then look at a number of inductor designs to see if the inductance value is realizable within the space, parasitic resistance R.sub.C, and other constraints of the design. If the inductance value is realizable, then we go on to block 154 and finalize the design. If the inductance value is not realizable within the physical and practical constraints, then we need to go back to block 150 and assume a new value of capacitance. One may go around this loop a number of times until one finally comes up with a compatible capacitor and an inductor design. In some cases, one will not be able to achieve a final design using this alone. In other words, one may have to use a custom capacitor value or design in order to achieve a result that meets all of the design criteria. That is, a capacitor design with high enough internal losses R.sub.C and an inductor design with low internal loss R.sub.L such that the bandstop filter 146 has the required quality factor (Q), that it be small enough in size, that it have sufficient current and high voltage handling capabilities and the like. In other words, one has to consider all of the design criteria in going through this decision tree.

[0095] In the case where one has gone through the left hand decision tree consisting of blocks 150, 152 and 154 a number of times and keeps coming up with a “no,” then one has to assume a realizable value of inductance and go to the right hand decision tree starting at block 156. One then assumes a realizable value of inductance (L) with a low enough series resistance for the inductor R.sub.L such that it will work and fit into the design space and guidelines. After one assumes that value of inductance, one then goes to decision block 158 and solves the equation C in FIG. 12 for the required amount of capacitance. After one finds the desired amount of capacitance C, one then determines whether that custom value of capacitance will fit into the design parameters. If the capacitance value that is determined in step 160 is realizable, then one goes on and finalizes the design. However, if it is not realizable, then one can go back up to step 156, assume a different value of L and go through the decision tree again. This is done over and over until one finds combinations of L and C that are practical for the overall design.

[0096] For purposes of the present invention, it is possible to use series discrete inductors or parallel discrete capacitors to achieve the same overall result. For example, in the case of the inductor element L, it would be possible to use two, three or even more (n) individual inductor elements in series. The same is true for the capacitor element that appears in the parallel tank filter 146. By adding or subtracting capacitors in parallel, we are also able to adjust the total capacitance that ends up resonating in parallel with the inductance.

[0097] It is also possible to use a single inductive component that has significant parasitic capacitance between its adjacent turns. A careful designer using multiple turns could create enough parasitic capacitance such that the coil becomes self-resonant at a predetermined frequency. In this case, the predetermined frequency would be the MRI pulsed frequency.

[0098] Efficiency of the overall tank circuit 146 is also measured in terms of a quality factor, Q, although this factor is defined differently than the one previously mentioned for discrete capacitors and inductors. The circuit Q is typically expressed using the following equation:

Q = f r .DELTA. f 3 dB ##EQU00001##

Where f.sub.r is the resonance frequency, and .DELTA.f.sub.3dB shown as points a and b in FIG. 23, is the bandwidth of the bandstop filter 146. Bandwidth is typically taken as the difference between the two measured frequencies, f.sub.1 and f.sub.2, at the 3 dB loss points as measured on an insertion loss chart, and the resonance frequency is the average between f.sub.1 and f.sub.2. As can be seen in this relationship, higher Q values result in a narrower 3 dB bandwidth.

[0099] Material and application parameters must be taken into consideration when designing tank filters. Most capacitor dielectric materials age 1%-5% in capacitance values per decade of time elapsed, which can result in a shift of the resonance frequency of upwards of 2.5%. In a high-Q filter, this could result in a significant and detrimental drop in the bandstop filter performance. A lower-Q filter would minimize the effects of resonance shift and would allow a wider frequency band through the filter. However, very low Q filters display lower than desirable attenuation behavior at the desired bandstop frequency (see FIG. 23, curve 162). For this reason, the optimum Q for the bandstop filter of the present invention will embody a high Q.sub.i inductor L and a relatively low Q.sub.c capacitor C which will result in a medium Q tank filter as shown in curve 164 of FIG. 23.

[0100] Accordingly, the “Q” or quality factor of the tank circuit is very important. As mentioned, it is desirable to have a very low loss circuit at low frequencies such that the biological signals not be undesirably attenuated. The quality factor not only determines the loss of the filter, but also affects its 3 dB bandwidth. If one does a plot of the filter response curve (Bode plot), the 3 dB bandwidth determines how sharply the filter will rise and fall. With reference to curve 166 of FIG. 23, for a tank that is resonant at 128 MHz, an ideal response would be one that had infinite attenuation at 128 MHz, but had zero attenuation at low frequencies below 1 KHz. Obviously, this is not possible given the space limitations and the realities of the parasitic losses within components. In other words, it is not possible (other than at cryogenic temperatures) to build an inductor that has zero internal resistance. On the other hand, it is not possible to build a perfect (ideal) capacitor either. Capacitors have internal resistance known as equivalent series resistance and also have small amounts of inductance. Accordingly, the practical realization of a circuit, to accomplish the purposes of the present invention, is a challenging one.

[0101] The performance of the circuit is directly related to the efficiency of both the inductor and the capacitor; the less efficient each component is, the more heat loss that results, and this can be expressed by the addition of resistor elements to the ideal circuit diagram. The effect of lower Q in the tank circuit is to broaden the resonance peak about the resonance frequency. By deliberately using a low Q.sub.c capacitor, one can broaden the resonance such that a high impedance (high attenuation) is presented at multiple MRI RF frequencies, for example 64 MHz and 128 MHz.

[0102] Referring again to FIG. 23, one can see curve 164 wherein a low resistive loss high Q.sub.i inductor has been used in combination with a relatively high ESR low Q.sub.c capacitor. This has a very desirable effect in that at very low frequencies, the impedance of the tank circuit 146 is essentially zero ohms (or zero dB loss). This means that biologic frequencies are not undesirably attenuated. However, one can see that the 3 db bandwidth is much larger. This is desirable as it will block multiple RF frequencies. As one goes even higher in frequency, curve164 will desirably attenuate other high frequency EMI signals, such as those from cellular telephones, microwave ovens and the like. Accordingly, it is often desirable that very low loss inductors be used in combination with relatively high loss (and/or high inductance) capacitors to achieve a medium or lower Q bandstop filter. Again referring to FIG. 23, one can see that if the Q of the overall circuit or of the individual components becomes too low, then we have a serious degradation in the overall attenuation of the bandstop filter at the MRI pulse frequencies. Accordingly, a careful balance between component design and tank circuit Q must be achieved.

[0103] Referring once again to FIG. 17, one can also increase the value of R.sub.C by adding a separate discrete component in series with the capacitor element. For example, one could install a small capacitor chip that had a very low equivalent series resistance and place it in series with a resistor chip. This would be done to deliberately raise the value of R.sub.C in the circuit as shown in FIG. 17. By carefully adjusting this value of R.sub.C, one could then achieve the ideal curve 164 as shown in FIG. 23.

[0104] FIG. 24 is a tracing of an actual patient X-ray. This particular patient required both a cardiac pacemaker 100C and an implantable cardioverter defibrillator 100I. The corresponding implantable lead system 104, as one can see, makes for a very complicated antenna and loop coupling situation. The reader is referred to the article entitled, “Estimation of Effective Lead Loop Area for Implantable Pulse Generator and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators” provided by the AAMI Pacemaker EMC Task Force.

[0105] Referring again to FIG. 24, one can see that from the pacemaker 100C, there is an electrode in both the right atrium and in the right ventricle. Both these involve a Tip and Ring electrode. In the industry, this is known as a dual chamber bipolar lead system. Accordingly, the bandstop filters 146 of the present invention would need to be placed at least in the distal tip in the right atrium and the distal tip in the right ventricle from the cardiac pacemaker. One can also see that the implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) 100I is implanted directly into the right ventricle. Its shocking Tip electrode and perhaps its super vena cava (SVC) shock coil would also require a bandstop filters of the present invention so that MRI exposure cannot induce excessive currents into the associated lead system (S). Modern implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) incorporate both pacing and cardioverting (shock) features. Accordingly, it is becoming quite rare for a patient to have a lead layout as shown in the X-ray of FIG. 24. However, the number of electrodes remains the same. There are also newer combined pacemaker/ICD systems which include biventricular pacemaking (pacing of the left ventricle). These systems can have as many as 9 to even 12 leads.

[0106] FIG. 25 is a line drawing of an actual patient cardiac X-ray of one of the newer bi-ventricular lead systems with various types of electrode Tips shown. The new bi-ventricular systems are being used to treat congestive heart failure, and make it possible to implant leads outside of the left ventricle. This makes for a very efficient pacing system; however, the implantable lead system 104 is quite complex. When a lead system 104, such as those described in FIGS. 8, 9, 10 and 11, are exposed to a time varying electromagnetic field, electric currents can be induced into such lead systems. For the bi-ventricular system, bandstop filters 146 would be required at each of the three distal Tips and optionally at Ring and SVC locations.

[0107] FIG. 26 illustrates a single chamber bipolar cardiac pacemaker lead showing the distal Tip 142 and the distal Ring 144 electrodes. This is a spiral wound system where the Ring coil 104 is wrapped around the Tip coil 104′. There are other types of pacemaker lead systems in which these two leads lay parallel to one another (known as a bifilar lead system).

[0108] FIG. 27 is a schematic illustration of the area 27-27 in FIG. 26. In the area of the distal Tip 142 and Ring 144 electrodes, bandstop filters 146 and 146′ have been placed in series with each of the respective Tip and Ring circuits. Accordingly, at MRI pulsed frequencies, an open circuit will be presented thereby stopping the flow of undesirable RF current.

[0109] FIG. 28 is a schematic illustration of the area 28-28 from FIG. 26. To the left of the bandstop filters 146a and 146b, the implantable lead conductors 104 and 104′ can either be coiled as shown or straight (filer) or the like. By way of background, the individual conductors of prior art implanted leads are usually not individually insulated. In the prior art, the lead body typically does have an overall insulation covering. The uninsulated adjacent conductors coils tend to short out in many places, particularly when the lead is going around sharp, torturous bends in a venous system. In accordance with the present invention and as shown in FIG. 28, there are two inductive coil-parasitic capacitance bandstop filter sections 146a and 146b in series with the implanted lead conductors 104 and 104′ that is coiled, wherein the inductive conductors do have a insulative coating with a specific dielectric constant material coated over them. These inductive coils L are generally closely spaced (with a predetermined spacing) such that a distributed capacitance is formed between the adjacent coils/windings of the inductor. Along the length of both bandstop filters 146a and 146b an inductance (inductor) is formed along with the parallel parasitic (or stray) capacitance from turn to turn in order to form the parallel resonant inductive-capacitive bandstop (tank) filters of the present invention.

[0110] As used herein, the terms “parasitic capacitance” and/or “stray capacitance” are synonymous and refer to the capacitance formed between the adjacent turns of an inductive coil L. In addition, as used herein, the terms “parasitic capacitance” and/or “stray capacitance” can also refer to the total capacitance formed in the inductor coil L which is the sum of all of the individual turn to turn capacitances. Electrically, in FIG. 28, the total capacitance Cp=Cp1+Cp2+ . . . Cpn appears in parallel with the total inductance L of the inductive coil to form the parallel resonant L-C bandstop filters 146 and 146′ of FIG. 27 of the present invention.

[0111] In a preferred embodiment, these inductive coil-parasitic capacitance self-resonant bandstop filters 146 and 146′ are located at, near or within the distal electrodes to the implantable lead. In the case of FIG. 28, these are the bipolar Tip and/or Ring electrodes 142 and 144 of a typical cardiac pacemaker. Each bandstop filter 146a and 146b is a single inductive coil component with enough parasitic capacitances to be self-resonant at the MRI RF pulsed frequency or frequency range. Accordingly, FIG. 27 is also the equivalent circuit schematic of FIG. 28. The capacitance C, as illustrated in FIG. 27, is the sum Cp of the parasitic capacitances CP1 through Cpn. In this case, “n” indicates that any number of turns, as desired, can be created for the inductive coil portion of the leads of 104 and 104′. The self-resonant inductor (bandstop filter 146a and 146b) portions of the implanted leads 104 and 104′ can be formed at the same time the overall lead conductor is formed, or they may be prefabricated (coiled) and then installed in one or more locations along the lead by laser welding attachment or the like. In an embodiment, the dielectric insulation that coats the coils of the bandstop filter portions may also coat the entire lead conductor coils (this would facilitate easy fabrication in some cases).

[0112] Accordingly, it will be appreciated that the inductance may be inherently derived from the lead’s material of construction or structure. Similarly, the capacitance may also be inherently derived from the lead’s material of construction or structure.

[0113] From the foregoing it will be appreciated that the present invention relates broadly to implantable leads which include at least one bandstop filter comprising at least a portion of the lead, for attenuating RF current flow through the lead at a selected center frequency or across a range of frequencies. The bandstop filter comprises a capacitance in parallel with an inductance, wherein values of capacitance and inductance are selected such that the bandstop filter attenuates RF current flow at the selected center frequency or across the range of frequencies.

[0114] Although several embodiments of the invention have been described in detail, for purposes of illustration, various modifications of each may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be limited, except as by the appended claims.