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Conduction block of whole nerve without onset firing using combined high frequency and direct current

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Abstract

This study investigates a novel technique for blocking a nerve using a combination of direct and high frequency alternating currents (HFAC). HFAC can produce a fast acting and reversible conduction block, but cause intense firing at the onset of current delivery. We hypothesized that a direct current (DC) block could be used for a very brief period in combination with HFAC to block the onset firing, and thus establish a nerve conduction block which does not transmit onset response firing to an end organ. Experiments were performed in rats to evaluate (1) nerve response to anodic and cathodic DC of various amplitudes, (2) degree of nerve activation to ramped DC, (3) a method of blocking onset firing generated by high frequency block with DC, and (4) prolonged non-electrical conduction failure caused by DC delivery. The results showed that cathodic currents produced complete block of the sciatic nerve with a mean block threshold amplitude of 1.73 mA. Ramped DC waveforms allowed for conduction block without nerve activation; however, down ramps were more reliable than up ramps. The degree of nerve activity was found to have a non-monotonic relationship with up ramp time. Block of the onset response resulting from 40 kHz current using DC was achieved in each of the six animals in which it was attempted; however, DC was found to produce a prolonged conduction failure that likely resulted from nerve damage.

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Acknowledgment

This study was funded by NIBIB Grant R01-EB002091.

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Correspondence to D. Michael Ackermann Jr..

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Ackermann, D.M., Bhadra, N., Foldes, E.L. et al. Conduction block of whole nerve without onset firing using combined high frequency and direct current. Med Biol Eng Comput 49, 241–251 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11517-010-0679-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11517-010-0679-x

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