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New tissue-hugging implant maps heart electrical activity in unprecedented detail
Date:3/24/2010

PHILADELPHIA A team of cardiologists, materials scientists, and bioengineers have created and tested a new type of implantable device for measuring the heart's electrical output that they say is a vast improvement over current devices. The new device represents the first use of flexible silicon technology for a medical application.

"We believe that this technology may herald a new generation of active, flexible, implantable devices for applications in many areas of the body," says co-senior author Brian Litt, MD, an associate professor of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and also an associate professor of Bioengineering in Penn's School of Engineering and Applied Science. "Initially, we plan to apply our findings to the design of devices for localizing and treating abnormal heart rhythms. We believe these new devices will allow doctors to more quickly, safely, and accurately target and destroy abnormal areas of the heart that are responsible for life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.

"Implantable silicon-based devices have the potential to serve as tools for mapping and treating epileptic seizures, providing more precise control over deep brain stimulation, as well as other neurological applications," says Story Landis, PhD, director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which provided support for the study. "We are excited by the proof of concept evident in the investigators' ability to map cardiac activity in a large animal model."

"The new devices bring electronic circuits right to the tissue, rather than having them located remotely, inside a sealed can that is placed elsewhere in the body, such as under the collar bone or in the abdomen," explains Litt. "This enables the devices to process signals right at the tissues, which allows them to have a much higher number of electrodes for sensing or stimulation than is currently possible in medical devices."

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Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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