Thoratec Transcutaneous Energy Transformer System: A Review and Update

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A transcutaneous energy transformer system (TETS) can provide power to an implanted ventricular assist device (VAD) across an unbroken layer of skin. A TETS includes a subcutaneous secondary coil, which traditionally connects to remote power conditioning circuitry located to avoid eddy current losses and heating that occur in metal near operating TETS coils. Litz wire, used to construct the coil and connect it to that circuitry, efficiently conducts the high frequency alternating current but is bulky and stiff. A novel concept (US Patent No. 6,327,504 B1) packages the secondary coil’s output power conditioning circuitry within the unused aperture of the coil while minimizing eddy current losses. The concept allows use of a more flexible cable for its direct current power output. The result is improved reliability, functionality, and efficiency along with decreased implant volume and a thinner, more flexible lead system to interconnect to the VAD. This in turn enhances system versatility by expanding sites available for module implantation. A TETS using this concept has demonstrated efficiency exceeding 80% and peak power outputs of 45 W with good tissue compatibility in the bovine model after a 30 day implant.

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