Medical Electronics Symposium Conference Proceedings


Author: Robert Erich
Company: Medtronic Microelectronics
Date Published: 4/25/2005   Conference: Medical Electronics Symposium

Abstract: As microelectronic technology continues to evolve, it is finding increased applications in the medical sector. Implantable medical devices are continuing to branch out to new types of therapies, posing a continuously growing number of alternatives to medication. Cardiac rhythm management products are the most common, with application in pacing, defibrillation, and heart resynchronization. New applications include Parkinson’s treatment, pain management, acid reflux monitors and syncope monitors.

Driving factors in medical electronic devices include form factor, weight, functionality, battery longevity, cost, and reliability. This combination of requirements was aggressive and unique in early implantable devices. To meet this challenging set of requirements, medical original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) were forced to internally develop custom packaging and assembly solutions.

With the evolution of consumer electronic products over the past two decades, tremendous advances have been made in microelectronics material, assembly equipment, assembly process, and component availability. Portable handheld electronic devices have a similar set of driving factors as medical implantable electronics. Medical OEMs are able to transition from custom packaging and assembly solutions toward industry standard practices, leveraging technology driven by the tremendous volume of the handheld electronics market.

This "fast follower" approach allows for decreased product development cycles, a better understanding of product reliability, and cost reductions.

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