Smart Pacemaker That Dissolves

Smart Pacemaker That Dissolves

You all might have heard of pacemakers. But have you heard of dissolving pacemakers? Well, researchers at Northwestern University have come up with an implantable pacemaker that dissolves once the device is no longer needed.

The latest invention is a smart device with four soft, flexible wireless sensors and controls fitted to the patient’s torso. The US National Science Foundation funded the research.

 THE MACHINE

The new implantable pacemaker uses sensors that continuously monitor body temperature, oxygen levels, respiration, muscle tone, physical exertion and the electrical activity of the heart. The pacemaker detects and reacts to abnormalities using algorithms. The data can be streamed to personal devices via an app, allowing doctors to monitor patients remotely. The sensors can also alert the user if an issue with the pacemaker is detected.

John Rogers, one of the corresponding authors of the study said; “for temporary cardiac pacing, the system untetters  patients from monitoring and stimulation apparatuses that keep them confined to a hospital setting.”

“Patients could recover in the comfort of their own homes while maintaining the peace of mind that comes with being remotely monitored by physicians. This also would reduce the cost of health care and free up hospital beds for other patients,” Rogers said.

Noting that temporary pacemakers required a wire that is connected to an external generator now, corresponding author Igor Efimoy said that in the present scenario, the wire has to be pulled out once the heart regains its ability to stimulate itself. “We created a pacemaker that dissolves and does not need to be removed. That avoids the dangerous step of pulling out the wire,” the author said.

Rogers further said, “We wanted to demonstrate that it’s possible to deploy multiple types of devices, each performing essential functions in a wirelessly coordinated manner across the body. Some are sensing. Some are delivering powa. Some are stimulating. Some are providing control signals. The vision of multiple bioelectronic devices all talking to one another and performing different functions at different anatomical locations is a frontier area that we will continue to pursue”

Among other improvements, the newest iteration of the device releases an anti-inflammatory drug to prevent foreign-body reactions as the device dissolves.

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