Researchers at Northwestern University and collaborators have developed a temporary cardiac pacemaker that dissolves in the body into harmless by-products. The technology avoids the need for cables that penetrate the skin, as well as tracking procedures to remove a pacemaker. The device could make temporary placement of pacemakers a safer and more comfortable experience for patients.
Patients often need temporary pacemakers, even after heart surgery. Typically, these devices are not wireless, but require electrical cables to penetrate through an incision, causing a risk of infection. “Sometimes patients only need pacemakers temporarily, perhaps after open heart surgery, a heart attack or an overdose of medication,” said Rishi Arora, a researcher involved in the study, in a Northwest ad. . “Once the patient’s heart has stabilized, we can remove the pacemaker. The current rule of thumb is to insert a cable that stays in place for three to seven days. These can become infected or evicted. “
This new technology is wireless and battery-free and can be securely sealed to the body, without the need to remove it later. “Hardware located in or near the heart creates risks for infection and other complications,” said John A. Rogers, another researcher involved in the study. “Our wireless and transient pacemakers overcome the main disadvantages of traditional temporary devices by eliminating the need for percutaneous referrals for surgical extraction procedures, thus offering the possibility of reducing costs and improving outcomes in patient care. This type of unusual device could represent the future of temporary rhythm technology “.
The new pacemaker is thin and flexible and the current iteration lasts approximately 5 to 7 weeks before decomposing into biocompatible by-products that are eventually excreted by the body. However, researchers can modify the formulation and structure of the device to accurately control the time it takes to degrade, possibly allowing custom devices for different patients. The new implant requires no battery and is powered through an external antenna using a similar technology used by smartphones to make electronic payments.
“We build these devices from different types of bioresorbable and safe materials and in optimized architectures to ensure stable operation for a slightly longer period of time than is clinically necessary,” Rogers said. “We can adapt the devices to deal with a wide range of relevant lives. Transitional technologies, in general, may one day provide therapy or treatment for a wide variety of diseases, which serve, in a sense, as a form of medical engineering.
Watch a video of the device degradation below.
Study a Nature’s biotechnology: Fully implantable and bioresorbable cardiac pacemaker without cables or batteries
Flashbacks: Flexible electronic heart wrap for continuous 3D electrocardial monitoring; Soluble “transient electronics” will be good for your body and the environment; Soft Electronics for advanced heart catheters