Transcutaneous Pulsed RF Energy Transfer Mitigates Tissue Heating in High Power Demand Implanted Device Applications: In Vivo and In Silico Models Results

Mohammad Karim, Antonio Bosnjak, James McLaughlin, Paul Crawford, David McEneaney, OJ Escalona

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This article presents the development of a power loss emulation (PLE) system device to study and find ways of mitigating skin tissue heating effects in transcutaneous energy transmission systems (TETS) for existing and next generation left ventricular assist devices (LVADs). Skin thermal pro-file measurements were made using the PLE system prototype and also separately with a TETS in a porcine model. Subsequent data analysis and separate computer modelling studies permit un-derstanding of the contribution of tissue blood perfusion towards cooling of the subcutaneous tissue around the electromagnetic coupling area. A 2-channel PLE system prototype and a 2-channel TETS prototype were implemented for this study. The heating effects resulting from power transmission inefficiency were investigated under varying conditions of power delivery levels for an implanted device. In the part of the study using the PLE setup, the implanted heating element was placed subcutaneously 6–8 mm below the body surface of in vivo porcine model skin. Two operating modes of transmission coupling power losses were emulated: (a) conventional continuous transmission, and (b) using our proposed pulsed transmission waveform protocols. Experimental skin tissue thermal profiles were studied for various levels of LVAD power. The heating coefficient was estimated from the porcine model measurements (an in vivo living model and a euthanised cadaver model without blood circulation at the end of the experiment). An in silico model to support data interpretation provided reliable experimental and numerical methods for effective wireless transdermal LVAD energization advanced solutions. In the separate second part of the study conducted with a separate set of pigs, a two-channel inductively coupled RF driving system implemented wireless power transfer (WPT) to a resistive LVAD model (50 Ω) to explore continuous versus pulsed RF transmission modes. The RF-transmission pulse duration ranged from 30 ms to 480 ms, and the idle time (no-transmission) from 5 s to 120 s. The results revealed that blood perfusion plays an important cooling role in reducing thermal tissue damage from TETS applications. In addition, the results analysis of the in vivo, cadaver (R1Sp2) model, and in silico studies confirmed that the tissue heating effect was significantly lower in the living model versus the cadaver model due to the presence of blood perfusion cooling effects.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7775
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 13 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

This research was funded by HEART RESEARCH (UK), grant number RG2678.


  • Transcutaneous wireless power supply
  • left ventricular assist devices (LVAD)
  • medical implants
  • skin pulsed heating
  • radiofrequency power loss emulator (PLE)
  • subcutaneous thermal profile
  • porcine model
  • cadaver model
  • TWESMI concept
  • Galvani concept


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