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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cochlear implants: response to therapeutic irradiation.

PURPOSE: To determine the response of cochlear implants ("bionic ears") to therapeutic irradiation. METHODS AND MATERIALS: A patient with a cochlear implant was referred for palliative cranial irradiation. As there were no published or manufacturer's data available regarding the response to radiation, implants were tested for functional changes following irradiation. Cochlear implants were supplied by Cochlear Ltd. Two units each of models CI22M, CI22M (with the second generation integrated circuit) and CI24M were irradiated with 4 MV X-rays, and an unirradiated unit of each model was used as a control. The implants were irradiated initially with 25 daily fractions to 50 Gy. To determine the response at higher doses, 10 Gy fractions were delivered to the same implants to 100 Gy, followed by a final fraction of 50 Gy (total dose 150 Gy). The implants were tested after each 10 Gy, up to 1100 Gy, and at 150 Gy. Several indicators of functionality were assessed, including RF (radio frequency) link range, and stimulator output current. The radiation shielding effect of the implants was also assessed. RESULTS: Within the dose range < or = 50 Gy, the stimulator output current of the CI22M units was the only parameter to change. At higher doses (to 150 Gy), changes in current output continued, and gradual loss of RF link range occurred in the CI22M units. The CI24M units showed changes in output current to 100 Gy, and large changes at 150 Gy. Dose attenuation by the implants was measured at 6% for ipsilateral single field 4 MV X-rays. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that patients with these cochlear implants can receive cranial irradiation with a low risk of implant failure. Changes in stimulator output current can be compensated simply by reprogramming the speech map after the course of radiation treatment.[1]


  1. Cochlear implants: response to therapeutic irradiation. Ralston, A., Stevens, G., Mahomudally, E., Ibrahim, I., Leckie, E. Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys. (1999) [Pubmed]
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