bannerHON
img
HONnews
HONnews
img PATIENT / PARTICULIER img PROFESSIONNEL DE SANTE img WEBMESTRE img
img
 
img
HONcode sites
Khresmoi - new !
HONselect
News
Conferences
Images

Themes:
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q
R S T U V W X Y Z
Browse archive:
2019: M A M F J
2018: D N O S A J J M

 
  Other news for:
Pacemaker, Artificial
 Resources from HONselect
Coming Soon: Battery-Free Pacemakers Powered by the Heart?

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 20, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists say they've taken a first step toward creating a pacemaker that runs on the heart's own energy rather than batteries.

Pacemakers are electronic devices implanted to regulate your heartbeat -- usually because of a condition that slows your heart's normal rate. Traditional pacemakers have two parts: a battery-powered pulse generator implanted under the collarbone, and insulated wires that connect it to your heart.

Because those batteries eventually wear down, pacemakers have to be replaced every five to 12 years. So, some scientists have been working an alternative: battery-free pacemakers that in theory would never have to be replaced.

The "most promising" approach right now is to harness the energy of the heartbeat to power the pacemaker, said researcher and study author Bin Yang.

One problem with the experimental devices developed so far has been their rigid structure, which limits their power.

So, Yang and his team designed a tactic that includes a pacemaker "chip" and an "energy harvester." The harvester is made of a flexible plastic frame bound to so-called piezoelectric layers -- which generate energy when they are bent.

The researchers implanted the devices into pigs and found that, in fact, the motion of the heart was enough to bend the harvester's frame and churn out energy at the level of a battery-powered pacemaker.

"The energy harvester can generate sustainable electricity for the pacemaker chip," said Yang, of Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China.

That is, however, only a very early step, he stressed.

"There are still many foundational issues with this approach," Yang said. For one, the technology currently exists in separate parts -- the energy harvester, the pacemaker chip and wires. They need to be integrated into one device, according to Yang.

Beyond that, he said, further animal research will be needed to see how stable the integrated device remains over time. Lastly, animal research does not always pan out in humans.

The ultimate hope, Yang said, is to develop a pacemaker that requires one-time surgery -- and less risk of surgical complications such as infections and bleeding.

Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy is chair-elect of the American College of Cardiology's electrophysiology section leadership council.

The concept of a battery-free pacemaker is not new, said Lakkireddy, who is also medical director of the Kansas City Heart Rhythm Institute. Back in the 1970s, some manufacturers came out with plutonium-powered pacemakers.

Lakkireddy, who was not involved with the study, said the new findings are interesting -- and a long-lasting battery-free pacemaker would have certain advantages.

However, he said, there are also several potential "downsides."

For one, current pacemakers allow doctors to monitor patients remotely -- a function that uses up energy, Lakkireddy explained. The technology described in this study may not be capable of that.

And in recent years, Lakkireddy said, the field has been moving toward tiny, wireless pacemakers that are implanted via catheter instead of chest incision. The goal of that technology -- which is still under study, but used for some patients -- is to avoid the risks associated with pacemaker wires and conventional surgery.

To fit into the wave of the future, Lakkireddy said, any battery-free technology would need to work in a wireless structure.

There are also some bigger-picture issues, according to Lakkireddy.

One, he said, is that medical devices are continually evolving and improving. So, a lifetime pacemaker that is never replaced would not necessarily be the best thing for patients.

And then there's the practical "business side," Lakkireddy pointed out: Would manufacturers have any incentive to make pacemakers that need no replacement?

The findings were published online Feb. 20 in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano.

More information

The American Heart Association has more on pacemakers.

SOURCES: Bin Yang, Ph.D., associate professor, micro-nano electronics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China; Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, M.D., chair-elect, electrophysiology section leadership council, American College of Cardiology, and medical director, Kansas City Heart Rhythm Institute, Overland Park, Kan.; Feb. 20, 2019, ACS Nano, online

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=742936

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Heart
Equipment and Supplies
Leadership
Research Personnel
Power (Psychology)
Risk
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


Home img About us img MediaCorner img HON newsletter img Site map img Ethical policies img Contact