Wireless Endovascular Nerve Stimulation with a Millimeter-Sized Magnetoelectric Implant


Implanted bioelectronic devices have the potential to treat disorders that are resistant to traditional pharmacological therapies; however, reaching many therapeutic nerve targets requires invasive surgeries and implantation of centimeter-sized devices. Here we show that it is possible to stimulate peripheral nerves from within blood vessels using a millimeter-sized wireless implant. By directing the stimulating leads through the blood vessels we can target specific nerves that are difficult to reach with traditional surgeries. Furthermore, we demonstrate this endovascular nerve stimulation (EVNS) with a millimeter sized wireless stimulator that can be delivered minimally invasively through a percutaneous catheter which would significantly lower the barrier to entry for neuromodulatory treatment approaches because of the reduced risk. This miniaturization is achieved by using magnetoelectric materials to efficiently deliver data and power through tissue to a digitally-programmable 0.8 mm2 CMOS system-on-a-chip. As a proof-of-principle we show wireless stimulation of peripheral nerve targets both directly and from within the blood vessels in rodent and porcine models. The wireless EVNS concept described here provides a path toward minimally invasive bioelectronics where mm-sized implants combined with endovascular stimulation enable access to a number of nerve targets without open surgery or implantation of battery-powered pulse generators.

Nature Biomedical Engineering
Zhanghao Yu
PhD 2023, now at Intel
Kaiyuan Yang
Associate Professor of ECE