Researchers eliminate batteries in pacemakers by harnessing electricity from the heart

While leadless cardiac pacemakers made its way into human hearts only in 2013, Hooman Ansari, a PhD candidate has just discovered a way to sustainably power these pacemakers for an entire lifetime by harnessing power from the patient's heartbeat.

Ansari under the guidance M. Amin Karami, a biomedical engineer at the University of Buffalo, have developed a piezoelectric device which could eliminate the need for pacemaker users to have operations after their batteries run out. The other reason being that once a leadless pacemaker is implanted, scar tissue begins to develop around it until it eventually encapsulates the device, making it nearly impossible to remove in some cases. hence in the need of a battery change, doctors may allow old pacemakers to pile up inside the heart while inserting new devices as needed.

Though this may not have any proven health repercussions, Ansari and Karami have been working towards a better solution. “What we’re proposing, would make receiving a pacemaker a one-and-done type procedure that could take as a little as 15 minutes,” says Ansari speaking to the University of Buffalo sources. “In the United States alone, about 200,000 people receive battery replacements for their pacemakers every year. We could eliminate these procedures, saving the health care system untold amounts of money and limiting the patient's risk that occurs with these procedures.”

While leadless pacemakers are as tiny as an AAA battery, the new piezoelectric strip is about half-centimeter long. It is designed to buckle as it absorbs vibrational energy from the heart, capable of generating enough energy to power a heart rate up to 150 beats per minute (BPM). The duo's next step is to conduct a set of experiments on the new device, to develop a way to attach a backup power source to the device.

Updated Date: Jun 09, 2017 21:46 PM