High-reliability microcontroller nerve stimulator for assistance in regional anaesthesia procedures

Carlos A Ferri, Antonio A F Quevedo
Journal of Medical Engineering & Technology 2017, 41 (5): 415-424
In the last decades, the use of nerve stimulators to aid in regional anaesthesia has been shown to benefit the patient since it allows a better location of the nerve plexus, leading to correct positioning of the needle through which the anaesthetic is applied. However, most of the nerve stimulators available in the market for this purpose do not have the minimum recommended features for a good stimulator, and this can lead to risks to the patient. Thus, this study aims to develop an equipment, using embedded electronics, which meets all the characteristics, for a successful blockade. The system is made of modules for generation and overall control of the current pulse and the patient and user interfaces. The results show that the designed system fits into required specifications for a good and reliable nerve stimulator. Linearity proved satisfactory, ensuring accuracy in electrical current amplitude for a wide range of body impedances. Field tests have proven very successful. The anaesthesiologist that used the system reported that, in all cases, plexus blocking was achieved with higher quality, faster anaesthetic diffusion and without needed of an additional dose when compared with same procedure without the use of the device.


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