Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.



Committee Chair

Giridharan, Guruprasad

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Kornig, Steven

Committee Member

Kornig, Steven

Committee Member

Soucy, Kevin

Committee Member

Quesada, Peter


Background: Counterpulsation devices (CPD) require electrocardiogram (ECG) lead implantation for timing device filling and ejection with the native heart. Non- implantable leads limit the scope of CPD treatment to short-term therapy. Standard transvenous/epicardial ECG leads increase the invasiveness of therapy.

Methods: To overcome these limitations, subcutaneous ECG leads were tested in chronic (n=6) and acute (n=5) bovine models. ECG waveforms from clinical- grade epicardial (control) leads and subcutaneous (test) leads were simultaneously recorded resulting in 830 data epochs (30-s each) for a total of 44,614 heart beats. Device triggering using R-wave detection was calculated for each lead type and compared. Additionally, the hemodynamic benefits of CPD with aortic cannulation (n=5) was investigated during normal and pharmacologically-induced heart failure, hypertension, and hypotension test conditions.

Results: The subcutaneous leads provided 98.9% positive predictive value and 98.9% sensitivity compared to the epicardial ECG leads. Out of 40 subcutaneous leads implanted in chronic animals, lead migration (sensing-end movement >0.5cm, n=1) and lead fracture (n=1) were observed in two leads but did not adversely impact triggering efficacy due to lead redundancy. The CPD vii cannulated to the aorta showed diminished left ventricular (LV) external work, LV end diastolic volume, and LV end systolic volume during 1:1 support compared to baseline in pharmacologically induced heart failure (HF). The CPD also augmented cardiac output, aortic mean pressure, aortic pulse pressure, and mean coronary artery flow.

Conclusion: These findings demonstrate the efficacy of chronic, subcutaneous ECG leads for CPD timing. The hemodynamic feasibility of the CPD cannulated to the aorta is equivalent or better than subclavian artery cannulation because of the proximity to the heart, which may increase the size of CPD patient population for warranted cases.