Navigation Links
Device Offers Hope for Battery-Free Pacemakers

By E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Implantable pacemakers have been around for more than 50 years, but they've always had one drawback: batteries that need to be replaced. Now, there are early signs that a device that gains power from the patient's own heartbeat might change all that.

The "energy harvester" device uses magnets plus vibrations from within the chest cavity to create energy sufficient to power a pacemaker, its developers report.

Right now, replacing a worn-out pacemaker battery requires major surgery that must happen about every seven years. That means that "if the patient starts with a pacemaker at age 2, which is not uncommon, then we are talking about 10 open-heart surgeries throughout their life," noted co-researcher David Inman, chair of the department of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor.

So, the advent of a battery-free pacemaker "would be a huge savings in terms of either reducing the number of operations, or completely eliminating them," he said. "It would also be a huge saving in terms of medical costs."

Details on the research are set to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Los Angeles.

According to Inman, the energy-harvesting device is the brainchild of co-researcher M. Amin Karami, a postdoctoral researcher working with Inman at the university. The tiny device is about half the size of a conventional pacemaker battery and utilizes piezoelectricity -- an electrical charge that's generated from motion -- plus a small magnetic field.

"These two effects together take the natural vibrations inside the chest cavity, which are caused by the heart beating, and change it into electricity which then runs the pacemaker," Inman explained.

He stressed that the research remains at an early stage. Estimates of the power available to the device once implanted in a patient are based on 20-year-old data on the vibratory energy inside the human chest, as well as newer data on energy generated by pig and goat hearts.

According to Inman, the next step is to obtain up-to-date measurements of heartbeat energy from patients undergoing heart surgeries. Inman expects those measurements to be carried out within the next four to five months.

After that, he said, "one of the major medical device manufacturers has to say 'OK, we want to make this a product.'" The prototype harvester he and Karami developed has worked as predicted, generating more than 10 times the amount of energy required to run a pacemaker, he added.

Another expert said the device shows promise, but there are still questions about how it operates in the ling run.

"The advent of a self-charging pacemaker would be revolutionary," agreed Dr. Neil Sanghvi, an electrophysiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

He noted that while the risks involved in replacing a pacemaker's battery are "typically low," in about 1 percent of cases post-replacement infection occurs, often requiring surgical removal of the pacemaker and long hospital stays. "A renewable self-contained source of energy for pacemaker function would allow us to prevent these rare but serious complications," Sanghvi said.

He also cited "several concerns," however. Since the harvester relies on magnets, it would require "thorough testing to confirm that outside sources of electromagnetic interference do not result in device malfunction," according to Sanghvi. Most importantly, "the technology needs to demonstrate reliable and persistent power generation over years of use without seeing a significant decline in power generation," he said.

Karami and Inman said that common appliances such as cellphones or microwave ovens should not affect the energy harvester's performance. And they added that it is possible the technology might also be able to power other cardiac devices, such as implanted defibrillators.

Still, Inman cautioned that all of that is years away, and much more work needs to be done -- including testing self-powered pacemakers in animals and then humans.

But the response from the medical community has been encouraging, he said. "We wrote this little academic article in Biophysics Letters [on the device]," he said, "and the phones started ringing off the hook."

Experts note that findings presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

Find out more about pacemakers at the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

SOURCE: Daniel Inman, Ph.D., professor and chair, department of aerospace engineering; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Neil Sanghvi, electrophysiologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Nov. 4, 2012, presentation, American Heart Association annual meeting, Los Angeles

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Nano-devices that cross blood-brain barrier open door to treatment of cerebral palsy
2. In Rat Study, Eye Device Shows Promise for Restoring Sight
3. Biochip-based device for cell analysis
4. New device warns workers of high levels of airborne metals in minutes rather than weeks
5. Device implanted in brain has therapeutic potential for Huntingtons disease
6. US Drug Watchdog Now Offers To Help All Recipients Of A DePuy Pinnacle Or Recalled DePuy ASR Hip Implant Get To The Best Attorneys Regardless If Their Device Has Failed
7. Oakworks Medical, a Division of Oakworks Inc.,, Manufacturer of Medical Tables and Positioning Devices Announces ISO 13485 Certification
8. Device is effective in managing incontinence after surgery
9. Adena Delivers Instant Health Information to Mobile Devices
10. The US Drug Watchdog Now Urges Plaintiffs Law Firms Worldwide To Contact Them About A Possible International Effort To Help Victims Of Defective Drugs Or Medical Devices
11. Popularity Causing Several Week Lag In Delivery Of 'Plug In' Device To Start Saving On Electricity Between 8% and 20%
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Device Offers Hope for Battery-Free Pacemakers
(Date:11/27/2015)... CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... use in Final Cut Pro X. With ProSidebar: Fasion, video editors can easily ... use ProSidebar as a minimalist title opener. Utilize presets featuring self-animating drop zones, ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... The ... prided itself for not only fulfilling the needs of advisers and clients but ... affordable price and providing top-tier customer service. However, there's always room for improvement, ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Avid collector, Andrew Hawley from Vintage Rock Posters, announces his ... is one of Joplin's most famous and beautiful concert posters. The concert was held ... Ann Arbor. The According to Hawley, "It is hard to believe that Joplin's stardom ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... American Express Travel Representative. As a franchise owner, Somu now offers travelers, value ... cruise, destination wedding packages, private cruise sales, as well as, cabin upgrades and ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Pixel Film Studios brings ... with ProTrailer: Vintage. This newly styled ProTrailer pack comes with 30 all-new vintage-inspired ... font, giving users limitless opportunities to stylize and create designs quickly and easily, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 26, 2015  The total global healthcare ... 7% over 2015-2016. Latin America has ... , (excluding Japan ), is second ... continues to face increased healthcare expenditure. In 2013-2014, total ... declined from 43.5% in 2008-2009 to 41.2% in 2013-2014. In ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 AAIPharma Services Corp./Cambridge Major Laboratories, ... least $15.8  Million to expand its laboratories and ... . The expansion will provide additional office space ... demands of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology markets. ... provide up to 40,000 square feet of expanded ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Israel , November 25, 2015 ... KTOV ) (TASE: KTOV), a biopharmaceutical company focused ... treatment of various clinical conditions, today announced the closing ... American Depository Shares ( ADSs ), each representing 20 ... up to 3,158,900 ADSs. The ADSs and warrants were ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: