Soluble pacemaker – this is the future of heart surgery

Last year, scientists at Northwestern University introduced the first soluble pacemaker. Now the device has been improved and acquired new features.

The pacemaker is now connected to a network of flexible, wearable sensors and control blocks located around the upper body. They are in constant contact with each other to constantly monitor the various physiological functions of the body, including body temperature, satiety, muscle tone and electrical activity of the heart. The collected data is processed by a special algorithm to immediately detect abnormal heart function. If any abnormality is found, it is decided to correct the rhythm. All information is immediately sent to a smartphone or tablet, allowing doctors to remotely monitor patients’ condition.

The implant, developed by scientists at Northwestern University, is described in detail in the journal Elm.

Solved start – how is this possible?

The new soluble pacemaker and sensor network can be used in patients who need a temporary pacemaker after heart surgery or who are waiting for a permanent pacemaker. The implant draws energy from the network node – a small wireless device that gently sticks to the patient’s chest. This technology eliminates the need for external equipment, including wires (or electrodes).

Also read: The world’s first patient received a revolutionary eye implant. This is hope for the blind

A small, wearable, touch-sensitive device that could be worn anywhere on the body was required for the system to communicate with the patient. When sensors detect a problem (eg, low battery, incorrect device placement, or pacemaker failure), the haptic device vibrates in special samples that alert the user and inform them of the problem.

For the first time, we have successfully combined soft, wearable electronics with switching electronic platforms. This approach can change the way patients are cared for by providing multimodal, closed-loop control of important physiological processes through a wireless network of sensors and stimulators inspired by complex biological feedback loops that control the behavior of living organisms.

prof. John Rogers of Northwestern University

The available pacemakers are not intelligent enough and do not always respond well to the needs of patients. This may change soon. The newly developed pacemaker not only has bioresorption capacity, but is also controlled by a soft, wearable patch that allows it to respond to normal life activities without the need for implantable sensors.

In the case of temporary cardiac pacing, the system frees patients from monitoring and pacing equipment that keeps them in a hospital setting. Instead, patients recovered from the comfort of their own homes with the comfort of remote monitoring by doctors. It will also reduce health care costs and free up hospital beds for other patients.

prof. Con Rocers

The team of prof. Rogers has been working on wireless wearable devices and bioresorbable electronic technologies for nearly two decades. Engineers have now combined a bioresorbable, lead-free pacemaker with four different skin devices. The skin-mounted devices are soft, flexible and gently peeled off after use, eliminating the need for surgery. After a while, the pacemaker will dissolve naturally in the body.

The system has undergone many changes since the starter was introduced last year. Perhaps most important is the ability to stimulate the heart’s needs, depending on when the patient needs it. A chest-mounted heart module synchronized with a pacemaker records a real-time electrocardiogram to monitor heart activity. In the study, the researchers compared this wireless technology to the gold standard of electrocardiogram and found that it was as accurate and precise as clinical-level systems.

The manufacturers believe that one of them will be most useful for the most sensitive patients. Each year, about 40,000 babies are born with a hole in the wall that separates the ventricles of the heart. About 10,000 of these defects are life-threatening and require urgent surgery. After the operation, all children receive a temporary pacemaker.

The good news is that this is a temporary situation. After about 5-7 days, the heart regains its ability to stimulate itself and no longer needs a pacemaker. Over the years, the pacemaker removal procedure has improved significantly, so the risk of complications is low. However, we were able to free these children from the wires connecting to the external generator and prevent them from undergoing a second procedure.

prof. Igor R. Efimov, one of the founders of the start

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