Boston Scientific Trusts Bustec Products for Pacemaker Testing

Company: Boston Scientific
Industry: Medical Devices
Challenge: Ensuring that a pacemaker properly measures and responds to a patient’s heart activity by creating a system that will simulate signals from heart monitoring sensors and measure pacemaker outputs to verify that proper stimuli are delivered in response to signals coming from the heart.
Solution: Using ProDAQ analog outputs to deliver accurate, complex simulated inputs and analog inputs. 


Boston Scientific is a medical device manufacturer on the forefront of Cardiac Rhythm Management (CRM). A pacemaker is a type of CRM recommended for patients with symptoms from a slow heart rhythm. It senses if the heart does not beat when it should and can send an impulse to make the heart beat at the correct rate. It also can send impulses to help even out an irregular rhythm. 

In order to ensure that their pacemakers will function properly once implanted in a patient, Boston Scientific needed a system that could both simulate input signals to the device, and monitor the output stimuli generated by it. The input signals represent the action of the heart as measured by several sensors. The pacemaker must be able to discern when the heart is functioning at an acceptable level of performance or when it is in need of stimulus. 

The simulated inputs had to be accurate within 0.05% from DC to 400 kHz. The outputs generated by the pacemaker must be monitored not only to ensure that they occur only when necessary, but also that the signals themselves are correct. This required highly accurate analog inputs capable of sampling at over 625 kS/s per channel. Since this was a production test system, high reliability was important to minimize downtime of the test system. 

Boston Scientific chose Bustec ProDAQ products for their combination of accuracy, throughput, and reliability. Since Boston Scientific had standardized on VXI for their test systems, they selected a VXI motherboard carrier and function cards for analog input, analog output, and digital I/O for controlling/monitoring elements of the test fixture. 

With the Bustec system they built, Boston Scientific was able to generate simulated heart activity signals to the device under test with an accuracy surpassing the 0.05% requirement. Bustec was the only vendor capable of meeting this requirement out of those surveyed. The system also was able to measure up to 24 input channels at the full per-channel sampling rate of 625 kS/s and stream all time-domain data to the host PC for processing and storage in real-time. 

The Bustec products met all requirements for accuracy and throughput while forming the core of a highly reliable production test system for pacemakers. Many doctors and patients worldwide trust hearts to Boston Scientific pacemakers, and Boston Scientific trusts Bustec ProDAQ products to ensure that their product is reliable.

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