Medtronic projects pain relief, longer battery life with low-power spinal cord stimulation

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After setting down a baseline of between seven and eight on a pain score, patients showed reductions down to 3.8 points overall in a study of a modified, low-power version of Medtronic's spinal cord stimulation therapy. (Medtronic)

Medtronic delivered new clinical data demonstrating improved relief from chronic pain using a modified, low-power version of its spinal cord stimulation therapy, potentially enabling fewer recharges or a longer overall battery life for the company’s implants.

The medtech giant’s Differential Target Multiplexed approach, known as DTM therapy, modulates electrical pulses to keep them in sync with interactions among the body’s nerve cells, helping calm down overactive pain signals. 

The lower-energy variation of the programming, described as DTM endurance therapy, is projected to enable between five-and-a-half and seven-and-a-half years of device longevity when employed with the company’s Vanta recharge-free neurostimulator, which received an FDA approval in June 2021.

The Vanta, about 20% smaller than Medtronic’s previous-generation neurostimulator, already pitches a 10% increase in implant lifetime, reaching up to 11 years with optimized power delivery settings.

When set up on a rechargeable device such as the company’s Intellis stimulator platform, Medtronic estimates the regimen would allow either rapid recharges of five minutes per day or about one-hour sessions once every 12 days. 

RELATED: Medtronic's Intellis spinal cord stimulator algorithm delivers back pain relief at one-year mark

The prospective study evaluated participants using pain-rating scales from zero to 10 over the course of three months of treatment. 

After setting down baseline scores of between seven and eight at the start of the trial, patients showed reductions down to 3.8 points overall as well as an average 4.2-point drop in reported chronic back pain and a five-point drop in leg pain, the company said in a statement.

In addition, 69% of patients improved to a less-disabled category as measured by a disability index, with 63% reporting minimal or moderate everyday disability after three months compared to just 16% at the study’s baseline. 

The results were shared at the annual meeting of the North American Neuromodulation Society. Participants will have additional follow-up assessments after six and 12 months.