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A Direct-Digital 40 μA 100 kb/s Intracardiac Communication Receiver with 250 μs Startup Time for Low Duty-Cycle Leadless Pacemaker Synchronization.

The first commercial dual-chamber leadless pacemaker (LLPM) was introduced recently. The system combines two separate implants situated in the right atrium and the right ventricle of the heart. Implant synchronization is accomplished with conductive intracardiac communication (CIC) using the myocardium and blood as transmission channel. Successful implant synchronization of this dual-chamber LLPM has been demonstrated. However, the continuously active synchronization transceivers, consuming about 800 nA, cause a 25-45% reduction in the projected device longevity. This work proposes an alternative strategy for power-optimized LLPM synchronization, which is based on synchronous duty-cycling of the transceivers and direct-digital CIC (DD-CIC). In line with this strategy, a novel low-power DD-CIC receiver for short-packet communication based on Manchester-encoded data and with fast startup time is presented. The circuit was fabricated in 180 nm CMOS technology and analyzed with respect to sensitivity, current consumption and startup time under highly duty-cycled operation. The receiver achieves a sensitivity of 81.6±7.4 μV at a data rate of 100 kb/s, with an active current consumption of 39.1±0.6 μA and a startup time below 250 μs. Operating the receiver as specified by the proposed LLPM synchronization strategy reduces the current consumption to a measured average value of 73 nA. In conclusion, this work suggests synchronous duty-cycling for CIC-based implant synchronization as a promising concept to severely reduce the current consumption of contemporary dual-chamber LLPMs. Consequently, device longevity may be increased significantly, potentially reducing the frequency of costly and complication-prone re-interventions.

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