Interesting fact: Your heart doesn’t need a brain or body to beat. Because it has its own electrical system that is independent of your nervous system. However, in certain medical conditions, the heartbeat can worsen.
This is where the pacemaker comes in. These devices are usually connected to the heart and use electrical signals to reset if the heartbeat is too fast or too slow. Some people need a pacemaker for the rest of their lives, while others only need it for a short period of time.In the latter case, scientists have created a powerful pacemaker that can disappear without a trace. Within a few days..
and Paper published on Thursday In the journal ChemistryResearchers at Northwestern University have created a smart pacemaker that provides the wearer with feedback on the rhythm of the heart and can dissolve when it is no longer needed. The device is a type of biological glue that is placed in the heart and communicates with four sensors placed outside the patient’s body. These sensors collect a variety of information, such as body temperature and oxygen levels, and work with pacemakers to reset abnormal heartbeats at the right time and for as long as needed.
This is a game changer for one important reason. People with temporary pacemakers no longer need to undergo invasive surgery to remove the device, which can lead to unintended health complications. A cardiologist at Northwestern University, a new study told The Daily Beast.
“Around the world, about 1 percent of all births are associated with heart defects. [which includes] There are 40,000 babies a year in the United States, “he said. Surgery is the only treatment available to repair a defect in the heart. This is combined with connecting the heart to an external pacemaker to ensure a normal heartbeat during the healing process.
“After surgery, you have to pull out [the wires connecting the pacemaker to the heart] After 5-7 days. Unfortunately, this can have very serious consequences, “says Efimov. These consequences are trauma or damage to the heart and can lead to more surgery. “Then there is also an infection because you have an essentially open wound [in the skin] Where the wire is sticking out. A buffet for pathogens like bacteria. “
Last summer, Efimov was a materials scientist at Northwestern University with co-author John A. Rogers. Co-author of Dr. Rishi Arora, another cardiologist at Northwestern University. Announcing a wireless, battery-free pacemaker It uses short-range wireless communication technology (the same as that used for contactless payments on smartphones), so no external wiring is required.Now with their latest Chemistry In the paper, researchers upgraded their pacemakers to add four sensors that they wear on the skin and interact with cardiac reset devices in a collaborative and intelligent way that Rogers calls the “body area network.”
“The devices on the surface of the skin do a lot,” Rogers told The Daily Beast. “One is measuring various physiological processes. [like oxygen, muscle tone, physical activity].. You can use that data to determine the need for pacemaker pacing and the rate of pacing that needs to be applied to the heart. “
One sensor on the chest wirelessly powers the pacemaker via magnetic induction. In magnetic induction, the magnetic field also creates an electric field and controls its operation. When the pacemaker detects that it is malfunctioning (for example, if the battery is not working), it communicates with another sensor that relays haptic feedback to the user to let them know that there is a problem. All information retrieved by the device can also be transmitted to smartphone apps and tablets, creating a potential way for doctors to remotely monitor patients.
The body of the device is also made of FDA-approved soluble biomaterial, and the circuit is made of magnesium and silicon. As the pacemaker dissolves, so do these minerals. There are also anti-inflammatory drugs built into pacemakers that reduce the potential inflammation between the device and the heart tissue.
So far, new pacemakers have been tested only in animals and have been found to be as accurate as ECG, a commonly used tool for recording heart rhythms. Both Efimov and Rogers want to start testing humans soon, but it can take years before the device becomes available to patients.
“The vision is to design a system that can operate in a way that can be deployed in your home environment without the need for doctor input,” Rogers said. “Currently we can’t do that, but that’s our vision.”
It may also be the first step towards a completely new class of transient medical devices that alleviate problems elsewhere in the body. For example, you can place a wireless, soluble device on someone’s spine or muscle to promote healing and growth of damaged nerves and tissues. It can even be used to help patients deal with chronic pain.
“You can create the device you need and run it for as long as you need it, whether it’s a month or a year. It melts and you don’t have to remove it,” Efimov said. “There are so many uses, it’s a really exciting technology.”