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Tissue Damage by Pulsed Electrical Stimulation

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5 Author(s)

Repeated pulsed electrical stimulation is used in a multitude of neural interfaces; damage resulting from such stimulation was studied as a function of pulse duration, electrode size, and number of pulses using a fluorescent assay on chick chorioallontoic membrane (CAM) in vivo and chick retina in vitro. Data from the chick model were verified by repeating some measurements on porcine retina in-vitro. The electrode size varied from 100 mum to 1 mm, pulse duration from 6 mus to 6 ms, and the number of pulses from 1 to 7500. The threshold current density for damage was independent of electrode size for diameters greater than 300 mum, and scaled as 1/r2 for electrodes smaller than 200 mum. Damage threshold decreased with the number of pulses, dropping by a factor of 14 on the CAM and 7 on the retina as the number of pulses increased from 1 to 50, and remained constant for a higher numbers of pulses. The damage threshold current density on large electrodes scaled with pulse duration as approximately 1/t0.5, characteristic of electroporation. The threshold current density for repeated exposure on the retina varied between 0.061 A/cm2 at 6 ms to 1.3 A/cm2 at 6 mus. The highest ratio of the damage threshold to the stimulation threshold in retinal ganglion cells occurred at pulse durations near chronaxie - around 1.3 ms.

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Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:54 ,  Issue: 12 )