Acceleration signals, collected from the inner and the outer heart wall, offer a mean of assessing cardiac function during surgery. Accelerometric measurements can also provide detailed insights into myocardial motion during exploratory investigations. Two different implantable accelerometers to respectively record endocardial and epicardial vibrations, have been developed by packaging a commercially available capacitive transducer. The same coating materials have been deposited on the two devices to ensure biocompatibility of the implants: Parylene-C, medical epoxy and Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The different position-specific requirements resulted in two very dissimilar sensor assemblies. The endocardial accelerometer, that measures accelerations from the inner surface of the heart during acute animal tests, is a 2 mm-radius hemisphere fixed on a polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) rod to be inserted through the heart wall. The epicardial accelerometer, that monitors the motion of the outer surface of the heart, is a three-legged structure with a stretchable polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) reinforcement. This device can follow the continuous motion of the myocardium (the muscular tissue of the heart) during the cardiac cycle, without hindering its natural movement. Leakage currents lower than 1 μA have been measured during two weeks of continuous operation in saline. Both transducers have been used, during animal tests, to simultaneously record and compare acceleration signals from corresponding locations on the inner and the outer heart wall of a female sheep.
Keywords: Accelerometer; Biocompatibility; Endocardial; Epicardial; Heart motion; Packaging.