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.

The 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 patient’s pain.

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.

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