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Device-Envy

Posted Nov 13 2009 10:00pm

I’m jealous. When one of the members of the DBS support group showed up with her newly implanted Medtronic’s Activa® PC Neurostimulator along with her new Activa® Patient Programmer, I had a bad case of device-envy. I wanted one and wanted it now. However, since I had a DBS battery replacement about a year ago, it looked unlikely that I will need another battery replacement for 2-5 years.

I salivated when I saw her look at the device which revealed her exact settings. Instead, with my Kinetra model, l must try to recall with my fuzzy Parkinson’s brain which range was set by the programmer for each side of my brain and how many clicks up or down I have already performed.

The object of my desire is Medtronic’s Activa PC Neurostimulator.

clip_image001 (Not drawn to scale)

Activa® PC is the first of Medtronic’s next generation, non-rechargeable Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) neurostimulators.

Medtronic’s promotional literature indicates that it is ideal for people who prefer their device to be ‘fitted and forgotten’ – that’s me!

The Activa PC neurostimulator contains an electronic circuit-board and is powered by a non-rechargeable, long-life battery. 

The Activa PC neurostimulator is discreet and unobtrusive, with a similar size and shape to a cardiac pacemaker.  This is a full 24% smaller than Medtronic’s first-generation Kinetra® device, meaning that many patients find the Activa PC device more comfortable.

The Activa Patient Programmer which accompanies the two new devices allows patients to work closely with their doctor to choose the level of DBS therapy that is right for them.  This provides optimal symptom control for many different situations, by allowing up to four pre-programmed stimulation patterns or groups.

Once my old DBS battery goes caput, I hopefully will get it replaced with an Activa PC device with the Activa Patient Programmer. If I had to choose today on the “four pre-programmed stimulation patterns or groups,” I would choose the following:

· One program for dancing

· One program for accordion playing

· One program for walking and hiking

· One program for speech

Other fine features include:

  • Simple Status Check – The Activa Patient Programmer allows patients to easily check the status of the device with the icon-based LCD screen.
  • Two User Modes –The Activa Patient Programmer can be switched between Simple and Advanced Modes.
  • Simple Mode allows patients to check battery- and therapy-status at the touch of a button.

Activa® RC Neurostimulator

clip_image003 (Not drawn to scale)

The world´s first and smallest rechargeable DBS device, the Activa RC has an extra-long battery life of nine years.

The Activa® Re-Chargeable (RC) neurostimulator is one of the next-generation Activa family of products for patients requiring Medtronic Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) therapy. 

The Activa RC neurostimulator has two main benefits.  Not only is it the world’s first rechargeable DBS neurostimulator, but it is also the smallest implantable DBS device yet.

The Activa RC neurostimulator contains an electronic circuit-board and is powered by a rechargeable battery that can last for up to nine years.  This means that most Medtronic DBS patients with an Activa RC device will be free from replacement surgeries for nearly a decade.  The patient’s only task is to choose between daily or weekly battery recharge options.

The Activa RC neurostimulator is discreet and unobtrusive, with a similar size and shape to a cardiac pacemaker.  It has a volume of just 22 cubic centimeters, is only 9 millimeters thick, and weighs a mere 45 grams.  This small size improves patient comfort and is an ideal option for children, women, or patients with low body weight.

clip_image004 (Not drawn to scale)

Up to four individualized settings can be pre-programmed by the physician, enabling optimal symptom control for the patient.

The new Activa® Patient Programmer is a highly intuitive controller that provides smart, targeted symptom management alongside Medtronic’s next-generation Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) neurostimulators: the Activa RC and Activa PC family.

  • Simple Mode allows patients to check battery- and therapy-status at the touch of a button.

The table below compares the two new devices with the two older devices. It is in metric and was provided by John McDonald, Senior District Manager with Medtronic Neuromodulation, who manages a 7-state region in the U.S.

  Activa® RC Activa® PC Kinetra® Soletra®
Volume 22 cc 39 cc 50 cc 26 cc
Weight 40 g 66 g 82 g 42 g
Height 54 mm 65 mm 61 mm 55 mm
Length 54 mm 49 mm 77 mm 60 mm
Thickness 9 mm 15 mm 15.2 mm 10 mm

The following table is the same as the one above, but converted for the metrically-challenged (that’s me).

  Activa® RC Activa® PC Kinetra® Soletra®
Volume 1.34 in3 2.38 in3 3.05 in3 1.59 in3
Weight 1.41 oz 2.33 oz 2.89 oz 1.48 oz
Height 2.12 in 2.56 in 2.40 in 2.16 in
Length 2.12 in 1.92 in 3.03 in 2.36 in
Thickness .35 in .59 in .60 in .39 in

Sources of Information:

Presentation by John McDonald, Senior District Manager with Medtronic Neuromodulation, to DBS Support Group on September 11, 2009 in Denver, Colorado

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