WiCS is the first leadless system to be successfully implanted in early human clinical trials at leading centres in Europe. Current CRT pacemakers or defibrillators are implanted in patients with chronic heart failure requiring both the left and right ventricles to be paced. Such devices require the implantation of three leads into the heart, one of which involves painstakingly threading a lead through a difficult and complex route through the heart.
In WiCS a very small leadless electrode is implanted in the desired location within the left side of the heart. In its first generation, WiCS works in conjunction with a conventional pacemaker/defibrillator, sensing the electrical pacing pulse of the pacemaker from the right ventricle. The pulse generator then transmits an ultrasonic pulse to the implanted receiver, which converts the sonic energy into electrical energy to pace the left ventricle in synchronisation with the right. Not only does this reduce the need for the difficult and complicated surgery associated with CRT pacemakers, but by pacing inside the left ventricle it also better mimics the natural activation and mechanical contraction pattern of the heart.
Cambridge Consultants helped EBR define the system architecture and the team developed advanced low-power circuits to interface with the ultrasonic transducers and heart monitoring sensors. This resulted in two mixed-signal ASICs managed by its 16bit XAP4 processor to form the core of the WiCS pacing system. During the development, Cambridge Consultants created a full system hardware emulator of the final ASIC so that the other system elements and the software could be designed and fully tested over a year before prototype ASICs were available.
“The WiCS system represents a huge breakthrough in pacemaker technology, not only in how we treat chronic heart failure patients today, but in eliminating leads and enabling site selected pacing locations in the heart for a wide variety of cardiac pacing applications,” Allan Will, CEO of EBR Systems. “Many of the complications and reliability failures of pacemaker systems are attributed to leads. By eliminating leads, we can address the problems which come with them, and advance cardiac pacing therapy for all patients.”