Stability of the input-output properties of chronically implanted multiple contact nerve cuff stimulating electrodes.
The objective of this investigation was to measure the input-output (I-O) properties of chronically implanted nerve cuff electrodes. Silicone rubber spiral nerve cuff electrodes, containing 12 individual platinum electrode contacts, were implanted on the sciatic nerve of seven adult cats for 28-34 weeks. Measurements of the torque generated at the ankle joint by electrical stimulation of the sciatic nerve were made every 1-2 weeks for the first 6 weeks post-implant and every 3-5 weeks between 6 weeks and 32 weeks post-implant. In three implants the percutaneous lead cable was irreparably damaged by the animal within 4 weeks after implant and further testing was not possible. One additional lead cable was irreparably damaged by the animal at 17 weeks post-implant. The three remaining implants functioned for 28, 31, and 32 weeks. Input-output curves of ankle joint torque as a function of stimulus current amplitude were repeatable within an experimental session, but there were changes in I-O curves between sessions. The degree of variability in I-O properties differed between implants and between different contacts within the same implant. After 8 weeks, the session to session changes in the stimulus amplitude required to generate 50% of the maximum torque (I50) were smaller (15+/-19%, mean +/- s.d.) than the changes in I50 measured between 1 week and 8 weeks post-implant (34+/-42%). Furthermore, the I-O properties were more stable across changes in limb position in the late post-implant period than in acutely implanted cuff electrodes. These results suggest that tissue encapsulation acted to stabilize chronically implanted cuff electrodes. Electrode movement relative to the nerve, de- and regeneration of nerve fibers, and the inability to precisely reproduce limb position in the measurement apparatus all may have contributed to the variability in I-O properties.
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