Clinical electrical stimulation systems-such as pacemakers and deep brain stimulators (DBS)-are an increasingly common therapeutic option to treat a large range of medical conditions. Despite their remarkable success, one of the significant limitations of these medical devices is the limited compatibility with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a standard diagnostic tool in medicine. During an MRI exam, the leads used with these devices, implanted in the body of the patient, act as an electric antenna potentially causing a large amount of energy to be absorbed in the tissue, which can lead to serious heat-related injury. This study presents a novel lead design that reduces the antenna effect and allows for decreased tissue heating during MRI. The optimal parameters of the wire design were determined by a combination of computational modeling and experimental measurements. The results of these simulations were used to build a prototype, which was tested in a gel phantom during an MRI scan. Measurement results showed a three-fold decrease in heating when compared to a commercially available DBS lead. Accordingly, the proposed design may allow a significantly increased number of patients with medical implants to have safe access to the diagnostic benefits of MRI.
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