First patient in China implanted with rechargeable neurostimulator
for chronic pain
17 December 2009
A 62-year-old man from Shenzhen, Guangdong province has become
the first patient in China to be implanted with St Jude Medical's Eon
neurostimulator, a rechargeable device used to help manage chronic pain.
Despite prior back surgeries, the patient suffered from chronic back
pain for more than a decade.
The Eon neurostimulator, which is the first rechargeable spinal cord
stimulator to be approved for use in China, was recently approved by the
Chinese State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) for the management of
chronic low back pain and pain from back surgeries that have failed.
“Chronic pain is a serious health issue in China,” said Professor
Zhang De Ren, M.D., an interventional pain physician at the Shenzhen
Nanshan Hospital of Shenzhen, Guangdong province who performed the
procedure. “We are excited to be able to provide an advanced therapy
such as neurostimulation in order to improve patient outcomes.”
Eon neurostimulator is designed to provide spinal cord stimulation
therapy. Similar to a cardiac pacemaker, this “pacemaker for pain”
delivers mild electrical pulses to a lead or leads that are placed in
the epidural space near the spine to interrupt or mask the transmission
of pain signals to the brain (see image on right). Once activated, the
system’s programs are adjusted and fine-tuned to best manage the
“Implanting the first patient in China with a rechargeable
neurostimulator represents an important step toward broadening the
availability of this therapy,” said Chris Chavez, president of the St.
Jude Medical Neuromodulation Division. “We are proud to provide
physicians access to technology that can deliver sustainable relief for
chronic pain sufferers who may have exhausted other therapy options.”
Neurostimulation patients can adjust the therapy by using a handheld
device (similar to a remote control) that allows them to select from
pre-set programs that are individually customized. Patients with a
rechargeable Eon neurostimulator periodically recharge their devices,
potentially resulting in fewer battery replacement surgeries.
In addition to the Eon rechargeable neurostimulator, the SFDA also
approved the non-rechargeable Genesis neurostimulator. Non-rechargeable
(also known as conventional) neurostimulators provide a convenient
option for chronic pain patients who prefer or require the simplicity of
a non-rechargeable medical device.
Chronic pain is a largely under-treated and misunderstood disease
that affects millions of patients worldwide. The World Health
Organization, in conjunction with the International Association for the
Study of Pain (IASP), reports that as many as one in five people suffers
from moderate to severe chronic pain.