Frequently Asked Questions

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Hardware

For your return to be processed, you must:

  • Receive a RMA number (Return Material Authorization) from our Service Support team, and mention it on the return packaging
  • Fill a “Return Authorization” form provided by our Service Support team
  • Clean/decontaminate the returned articles from biological material or biohazardous agents and any dangerous chemical compounds
  • Carefully pack the hardware component to avoid breakage during shipment (For receivers, please disassemble the antennas)
  • Write on the external part of the package the RMA number.
  • Send the package at the emka TECHNOLOGIES office in France, United States, Japan or China (addresses available here)

emkaPACK4G JACKET TELEMETRY

An implant manager can be connected to the emkaPACK4G transmitter, to acquire invasive endpoints, such as EEG, EMG, ECG, pressure (arterial and ventricular), and core body temperature with easyTEL+ implants, on the same platform.

It can be beneficial, for instance:

  • When lung volumes (provided by external emkaPACK4G telemetry) need to be recorded, along with core temperature and other implanted endpoints.
  • In toxicology studies, if minimally invasive blood pressure is required. In this case, a M size implant is lighter and smaller, with 2F or 4.5F pressure catheters, it is intended for subcutaneous placement in small primates or other large animal models 
  • When multilead ECG (potentially 6 standard leads and one chest lead) is required, with measurement of continuous blood pressure by implant.

easyTEL+ IMPLANTED TELEMETRY

easyTEL+ implants range offers various configurations:

Single lead biopotential, using a 2-wire electrode
To get 1 EEG, EOG, EMG or 1-lead ECG (Lead II placement is usually chosen (but not necessarily). 


Dual biopotential

To get a 2-lead ECG or a combination of 2 biopotentials amongst 1-lead ECG, EEG, EOG or EMG. 

Unipolar configuration, using 3 wires electrodes

In this configuration, the reference electrode is common to both biopotentials. Unipolar biopotential is easier for the surgery but both biopotentials must be similar (2 EEG or 2 ECG for instance).

Biop 1 = Electrode 1 – Electrode 2
Biop 2 = Electrode 3  – Electrode 2

Bipolar configuration, using 4 wires electrodes

In this configuration, the biopotential is measured between the positive (red) and negative (white) electrode, allowing to get two independent biopotentials (EEG and EMG for instance).  

Biop 1 = Electrode 1- Electrode 2
Biop 2 = Electrode 3- Electrode 4

For ECG, lead III can be deduced by the software from leads I and II.

 

Quadruple unipolar biopotential, using 7 wires
All biopotentials have the same reference. This configuration allows the acquisition of 4 EEG.

 

Quadruple bipolar biopotential, using 9 wires:
Each biopotential is independent, which is useful for multi-purpose acquisitions, for instance: 2 EEG + 1 EMG + 1-lead ECG. In this configuration, the reference electrode is independent from all biopotentials.

Implants are ETO processed and ready for implantation (to maintain treatment, the package should not be pierced).

However, as they can be used, explanted and reimplanted multiple times, this article give advice for disinfection and sterilization.

Cleaning and disinfection

After implantation for a long period of time, it is common to find the catheter, electrodes and implant body covered with connective tissue.
Be careful when using a scalpel to cut tissues from around or above the implant, as it could damage the electrodes, catheter or implant body.
To clean the transmitter, we recommend to immerse it in an enzymatic detergent such as Terg-A-Zyme®. Please follow the supplier instructions to make the solution, and soak the implant during 4 to 12 hours. Rinse the implant, preferably with running water.

In order to limit the spread of bacteria during handling, we recommend disinfecting the implant after its cleaning, using a 2.4% Glutaraldehyde solution (e.g. Actril or Cidex):

  • Implants should be immersed for a defined amount of time (in general 5 to 10 hours, please follow the supplier instructions) prior to use.

  • Rinsing / immersing in sterile saline before implantation is mandatory to fully remove the zing solution (up to 48 hours)

  • Aseptic technique should be used when performing this rinse procedure, using sterile container and gloves when handling the sterilized instruments and devices.

Please consult emka TECHNOLOGIES for any other alternative method.

Sterilization

Implants must be sterilized or disinfected before re-implantation. Most protocols accept a disinfection according to the above procedure. Where sterilization is required :

  • We recommend using ETO but at ambient pressure and temperature.

  • The Anprolene ETO sterilizer from Andersen works in these conditions and will not damage your implants.

CAUTION:

  • Inappropriate temperature/pressure/method may destroy your device!

  • DO NOT autoclave, exceed 40°C, use radiation sterilization, use dry or moist heat sterilization on emka telemetry implants.

  • Implant with pressure catheter: DO NOT apply vacuum below 600 mmHg (absolute value, or -160 mmHg under atmospheric pressure)

Consult emka TECHNOLOGIES for any other alternative method.

A major advantage of fully implantable systems is their compatibility with water-based tests (i.e. Morris Water Maze, Forced Swim Test).

With a transmission distance of 5 m between transmitter and receiver, easyTEL+ telemetry allows for uninterrupted behavioral observations concurrently with high resolution physiological recordings.

easyTEL+ telemetry allows group housing as well.

Transmitter state (on/sleep) and reconfigurable settings (sampling rate, resolution, transmission power, transmission frequency, etc.) can be controlled wirelessly. This reduces human interaction, thereby increasing the likelihood or the animal’s natural state during behavioral testing.

Furthermore, our partnership with Noldus Information Technology allows to offer a solution where digital telemetry and video tracking are integrated. Contact us to learn more!

Quality of Signal (QoS) is available as its own signal, continuously monitoring the connection quality between the implant and the acquisition PC, and quickly detecting any change in the radiofrequency environment.

QoS allows researcher to optimize the placement of the receiver and to identify and eliminate possible sources of interferences. It can be used to automatically differentiate between true events and data loss to avoid incorrect analysis (i.e. long RR intervals).

ecgTUNNEL

ecgTUNNEL has been designed to measure 6-lead ECG from conscious and restrained rodents (under 1kg).

Having the animal restrained limits the duration of the recording around one hour. Therefore, for long term recording, we recommend using implantable telemetry.

When ecgTUNNEL is used with its optional plesthymograph dome, to add respiratory endpoints to the ECG, recording duration is also limited to 1 hour.

However, for respiratory measurements only, if the ECG restrainer is removed,  and if the chamber is correctly ventilated, the animal is conscious and freely moving and can thus be recorded for several hours, as in a classic plethysmography experiment.

rodentPACK

After an acclimation of under 24 hours, rats ignore the device. They do not try to touch it nor do they try to rub it against the cage walls.

Yes, it is possible, on special request. 

rodentPACK includes 4 biopotential channels. Each channel can be configurated as a bipolar or unipolar biopotentials. Model of electrodes, length, type of final connection (screw…) can be configurated as well.

See “How can I get a “ready to use” head connector for rodentPACK”.

rodentPACK can amplify and transmit up to 8 signals: 4 biopoentials and acceleration (3-axis + 1 global acceleration).

When you order a rodentPACK, we ask you to fill a specific form where you can specify your settings for each biopotential input: Type of signal (ECG, EMG, EOG, cortical EEG, Hippocampal EEG), input range, sample frequency, resolution, connector pins mapping.

rodentPACK transmitter runs on two zinc-air P13 batteries (1.45V), single-use.

Zinc-air batteries need to stay in contact with the ambient air (out of their packing, with the plastic protection removed) during one minute, before being installed in their support.

Failure to wait at least one minute will result in permanent damage to the battery and to dramatically reduced battery life.

The positive face is on the top for both batteries. Do not insert the batteries in the wrong position as it may damage the transmitter.

Do not use batteries that would be almost empty.
When fully discharged, batteries swell then oxidize, which damage the batteries holder.

rodentPACK transmitters are using the same technology that our implantable easyTEL+ telemetry. Digital receivers are fully compatible with rodentPACK and easyTEL+. Therefore, it is possible to perform acquisition of easyTEL+ and rodentPACK using the same acquisition platform, either combined and independently.

Advantages:

  • EEG signal quality is improved with shorter electrodes
  • 4 biopotential available, compared to only 2 biopotentials with equivalent implant for rat
  • Cost effective: Transmitters are reusable across subjects, cohorts, and studies, reducing total system cost. 

 

Drawback:

  • Only available for rats, while implants range is from mice to large animals
  • 6+ days of continuous acquisition with rodentPACK (without changing the battery), compared to 150 days with equivalent implant for rat

TISSUE BATHS

emkaBATH4 can handle:

  • Microvessels: veins, small arteries, lymph vessels or tracheal smooth muscle, with lumen diameter from 0.1mm to 3mm and segment lengths up to 3.5mm,
  • Tissue strips or vessels (int. diameter 0.5mm to 10 mm, and length up to 40 mm) such as smooth muscle (aortic rings, ileum, uterine tissue, trachea, mesenteric artery, colon), cardiac muscle (atrium, ventricle, papillary muscle) and skeletal muscle (diaphragm).

Tissue bath systems from emka TECHNOLOGIES include automated actions such as baths washes (filling, emptying, overflow), automatic tension… These actions can be manually driven from the device touchscreen, but can also be remotely controlled from IOX software.

Using IOX software also permits to record these actions into the data files and associate them to the physiological data. Each event is displayed on physiological graphs or trends during the acquisition, or in review mode using IOX or Datanalyst software.

In addition, IOX software offers the possibility to write experimental protocols. Such protocols include list of actions (washes, injection, stimulation, calibration, tissues tension…) to be performed on a specific bath, at specific time points or when the user decides.

At the beginning of the experiment, this is not necessary to stay in front of the device during the tissues stabilisation process, as IOX software handles this process automatically.

At last, IOX software controls emka TECHNOLOGIES’ electrical stimulators.

Stimulator start and stop, as well as stimulation parameters (frequency, amplitude, pulse width, number of pulses in a train….) can be adjusted by software and included in the protocol.

emkaBATH4 has been completely redesigned in 2018 and now offers:

  • A new bath filling/emptying method: each bath has its own emptying pump, allowing simultaneous emptying/filling
  • A smaller footprint: the big power unit has been replaced by a small one
  • Easier cleaning & maintenance: New fritted glass (easier to replace), easier cleaning procedure, no more electrovalves requiring periodical check, tubular bath from emkaBATH4 can be used on emkaBATH2
  • New isometric transducers, more robust
  • New option to remove any offset on transducer without performing a full calibration
  • New heating mode: “Force On” mode allows to continuously regulate liquid temperature into the bath even if the system considers the bath as empty. In the previous version, if the bath was empty and if the user wanted to fill it manually (using a syringe), temperature control was stopped. This is not the case anymore, if “force On” is activated.
  • Myograph bath redesign:
    • Monobloc unit with smooth surface and large side flares, entirely corrosion-resistant, easier to clean to minimise the risk of contamination and offering a better access to the bath
    • New calibration system
    • New bath cover

Software

A license is a combination of software and its license file. Software rights (such as authorized analyzers, number of inputs, etc.) are saved in the license file.

License files are represented by an xmli file, stored on a license key, directly on the computer hard disk, or on the network. These files are created by emka TECHNOLOGIES, for any emka software version installed on a computer.

The computer used to install the emka TECHNOLOGIES software must satisfy the following minimum requirements:

  • OS: Windows 10 Pro x 64 bits
  • OS language: preferentially EN-US
  • Storage: SSD drive for installation and OS
  • RAM: 4 GB for standard configuration. >8 GB for heavy configurations (>24 hrs and/or >8 subjects and/or video)
  • Ports: TCP port 63652 (if possible also 80000) open and allowed for emka related services
  • UPS for all system parts

 

Furthermore, before any installation, you must ensure with your IT department authority that the computer you intend to use for the emka TECHNOLOGIES software installation, and operation is correctly configured (read and write access on specific folders, Windows settings etc).

Software prerequisite form summarizing all these requirements will be provided by emka TECHNOLOGIES. If you have any questions, our customer service support will be happy to help you.

IOX2 SOFTWARE

An input is an electrical signal usually generated by a transducer or electrode and amplified through a specific amplifier.

In addition to inputs (which correspond to measured signals), IOX can create calculated inputs. A calculated input is defined by its calculation formula combining one or more physical inputs, numbers, operators, mathematical functions. After the calculation, the calculated input is handled in the same way as the physical input.
It can be visualized, analyzed, recorded, just as if it came from a transducer.

An analyzer is a software module that derives computed parameters from one or several inputs. Parameters are specific to the type of analyzer. The choice of the analyzer depends on the measured variable, such as left ventricular pressure, blood flow, action potential…

For example:

  • The Blood Pressure analyzer computes the diastolic pressure, systolic pressure, …
  • The Rhythmic analyzer, linked to a papillary muscle input, for example, will derive for each beat per min value, max value, beating frequency, and more…

 

Some analyzers may require several inputs in order to generate all the relevant parameters (e.g. for the Blood Flow analyzer, a pressure input is required along with a flow input to compute resistance).

A site is a group of inputs related to a single animal or an isolated tissue. A site can be:

  • a dog in a telemetry experiment from which ECG, temperature, and activity are measured.
  • an isolated perfused heart with inputs such as : perfusion pressure, perfusion flow, left ventricular pressure, ECG…
  • tissue bath setup with a single input from a force transducer measuring organ tension

 

The associations formed by inputs and analyzers are grouped into sites, and users will define as many sites as subjects. At the beginning of an experiment, IOX will ask for a subject name for each site. In the end, a primary file will be created for each site/subject.

IOX software can run with absolutely all emka hardware, and also some third-party hardware, whatever the technology used to transmit the data. To make this possible, IOX uses different acquisition modes.

To understand the acquisition mode concept, an introduction to signal acquisition is necessary.

Physiological signals such as pressure, biopotentials, force, flow… are acquired by electrodes or specific transducers that generate analog signals. To be recorded by the software, these signals need to be amplified and converted into digital (numerical) values at regular time intervals.

Digitizing can be done through a specific device interfacing between the computer and the hardware, or directly done by the hardware. The existing options are described below.

HARDWARE SYSTEMS

Analog signal already amplified, but not converted in digital values.

This is the case with most amplifiers that provide signals on connectors (BNC for example).

In this case, a device is used to interface between the amplifier and the acquisition computer. It acts as an analog-to-digital converter. This converter can be an AD board installed inside the computer (with an external interface box) or an external AD converted linked to the computer through USB and Ethernet cables.

Such converted are necessary with specific devices such: PV loop system, Perivascular flowmeters, analog amplifiers…

Available product to perform this analog to digital conversion from the analog amplifier are:

  • usbACQ: limited to 4 synchronized analog channels, with a max sampling frequency of 2Khz per channel.

  • Datalink_USB: can record 16 synchronized analog channels with a max sampling frequency of 20Khz per channel.

  • easyMATRIX3: can record 8 synchronized analog channels with a max sampling frequency of 2Khz per channel, with the possibility to collect 16 implantable devices simultaneously.

Analog signal already amplified and converted in digital values by the hardware

This is the case for the majority of recent electronics that handled both amplification and digitization and that are connected to a computer by USB or ethernet link.

In this case, a device such as usbAMP is used for direct USB link to the computer running emka TECHNOLOGIES’ IOX acquisition software. Sometimes, this device is directly embedded into the hardware (tissue baths, for instance).

Wireless telemetry systems

Analog solutions 

For rodents equipped with easyTEL implants or for subjects equipped with DSI implants* and using third-party telemetry receivers, the analog signal is converted in the easyMATRIX3 device, placed between the receiver and the computer.

easyMATRIX3 connects to the computer through Ethernet. Therefore, an add-on A/D acquisition card is not required.

Digital solutions

For large animals equipped with non-invasive emkaPACK4G telemetry or implanted easyTEL+ and for rodents equipped with rodentPACK, the signal is already digitized by the transmitter. Which is why they are called “Digital solutions”.

Therefore, when the signal is received by the telemetry receiver, it can be directly sent to the acquisition computer, via Ethernet through a PoE switch.

ACQUISITION MODES

To ensure compatibility with all these options, IOX software offers various acquisition modes:

Hardware systems :

  • usbAcq usbAmp acquisition mode: for all wired solutions using a USB acquisition, except tissue baths (Electrodes and transducers connected to usbACQ or usbAMP, ecgTUNNEL, isolated Heart, perfusion system for liver/kidney)

  • emkaBATH acquisition mode: for all our tissue bath systems (emkaBATH4, emkaBATH2, emkaMYO2)

  • NI acquisition mode: For computers equipped with a National Instrument card, or datalink_usb box

Wireless telemetry systems :

  • easyMATRIX+ acquisition mode: for analog inputs used with easyMATRIX3 device. 

  • Digital telemetry acquisition mode: for digital solutions except emkaPACK4G (easyTEL+ implants and rodentPACK)

  • emkaPACK acquisition mode: Specific to emkaPACK4G non-invasive telemetry for large animals

Yes, IOX software offers the ability to replay exiting raw data files.

During this replay, a new analysis will be performed, and new text files, including derived parameters from raw data files, will be produced (note, that raw data files are never modified).

If a replay is performed without any modifications in the original configuration, new text files will include similar values to the original files. However, it is sometimes useful to change parameter settings to improve analysis. For instance, it is possible to:

  • Change analyzer or storage tunings
  • Produce data at a different rate.
  • Disable/enable categories or events
  • Change the zone to be replayed

Not necessarily. We can decide to affect two cameras to the same animal (i.e in large pens with indoor and outdoor parts requiring two cameras), or one camera for several animals (example of group housing in the same cage).

When animals are group-housed, a visual tag on each animal is necessary, in order to identify them. Furthermore, it should be taken into account that video recording can be black and white during night recording, with infrared illumination.

Raw data files with physiological signals and video data files are saved separately.

Video data files can be read with most movie players.

When reviewing records in IOX2 or ecgAUTO software, raw data files and video files are automatically synchronized. If the video signal cannot be located, raw data files are simply replayed without video.

 

Note: For instance, it is possible to keep Video files only for quality control just after recording and delete them later because archiving is not necessary. Deleting video files doesn’t impact physiological data files.

ecgAUTO SOFTWARE

No. ecgAUTO is suited to all user levels. It can be used in different ways by different types of users. emka TECHNOLOGIES provides training and user documentation to allow new users to get up and running very rapidly and to show experienced users advanced functions and different ways of using ecgAUTO.

Furthermore, when used in combination with user management software, different access levels can be provided for different users. So, “experts” have access to all functionalities and settings, “users” or “mini-users” have fewer possibilities and a very simple system. “Mini-users” can only load a file, view it, analyze data, view results, and save. They cannot see or modify settings, nor edit beats. They are not slowed down by the full range of options and they are not able to mishandle the system.

ecgAUTO uses pioneering shape recognition techniques for ECG analysis.

A library is a group of waveforms used as reference waveforms. During analysis, each candidate waveform in the signal is compared to library waveforms. If a sufficiently similar library waveform exists, the candidate waveform “passes” and marks (start of P wave, peak of R wave etc) can be plotted. Otherwise, the candidate waveform is rejected.

Usually, a library contains 10 to 30 waveforms. It is common practice to use one library per species. However, in some cases, there are good reasons to create one library per subject.

emka TECHNOLOGIES can supply pre-built libraries for beginners.

If we consider, for instance, users who use the software for analyzing rat ECG data and dog ECG data, we recommend they build a library for each animal species. Having all waveforms, from both animal species, in the same library is feasible and would produce correct analysis but would unnecessarily slow down the analysis.

Some users go as far as building a specific library for each subject. We feel that this is justified when a relatively small number of animals will be studied for many months or even for a few years. However, we recommend using one library per species.

Let us assume, for example, that we have a set of ECG recordings from 40 beagle dogs. Each one is a file produced in, or converted to, the IOX format.

It would take up to 2 or 3 hours for a member of the emka TECHNOLOGIES team to build the library capable of analyzing this set of files. The library would typically contain about 20 to 40 waveforms.

Now suppose that a new study on different beagle dogs needs to be processed. The number of extra waveforms to be added will be limited by  5 to 15, and would require an extra hour or so.

Once the library is set to analyze around 100 subjects, only very occasional additions to the library will be required.

For example:

  • The Blood Pressure analyzer computes the diastolic pressure, systolic pressure, …
  • The Rhythmic analyzer, linked to a papillary muscle input, for example, will derive for each beat per min value, max value, beating frequency, and more…

 

Some analyzers may require several inputs in order to generate all the relevant parameters (e.g. for the Blood Flow analyzer, a pressure input is required along with a flow input to compute resistance).

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