Wireless communication with implanted medical devices using the conductive properties of the body

John E. Ferguson, A. David Redish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Many medical devices that are implanted in the body use wires or wireless radiofrequency telemetry to communicate with circuitry outside the body. However, the wires are a common source of surgical complications, including breakage, infection and electrical noise. In addition, radiofrequency telemetry requires large amounts of power and results in low-efficiency transmission through biological tissue. As an alternative, the conductive properties of the body can be used to enable wireless communication with implanted devices. In this article, several methods of intrabody communication are described and compared. In addition to reducing the complications that occur with current implantable medical devices, intrabody communication can enable novel types of miniature devices for research and clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-433
Number of pages7
JournalExpert Review of Medical Devices
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the University of Minnesota Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) and an NIH T32-EB008389 training grant. The authors have no other relevant affiliations or financial involvement with any organization or entity with a financial interest in or financial conflict with the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript apart from those disclosed.


  • biotelemetry
  • cardiac implants
  • implantable device
  • intrabody communication
  • neural implants
  • remote monitoring
  • wireless


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