Self-sufficient pacemaker, Thanks to the energy of the heart

14 10 2013

Create a device that transforms heart rate power into electric current to feed indefinitely to implants


Traditional pacemakers have a snag: they must be replaced every five to seven years because the batteries run out. Avoid these operations is now possible thanks to a system developed by American scientists: a collector of energy that transforms the heart rate into electric current. This current can be used to feed on the pacemaker, indefinitely.


El nuevo dispositivo recoge la energía de los latidos del corazón para destinarla al suministro energético de los marcapasos. Fuente: PhotoXpress.

The new device collects the energy of the heart beat for the energy supply of the pacemaker. Source: PhotoXpress.

U.S. scientists have developed an experimental device that collects the energy of the heart beat for the energy supply of the pacemaker.

The advance, has been presented in the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2012 It held until November 7 in Los Angeles (United States), It could serve for replacing the batteries of the pacemaker in the future, so that these need to be replaced periodically.

In a preliminary study, the researchers tested this device of energy collection that uses the piezoelectricity to generate electricity from the beating of the heart.

Piezoelectricity is the phenomenon whereby a material, When it is subject to mechanical stresses, it gains its mass electric polarization, that is a difference of potential and electrical charges on their surface. The results were promising.


An almost eternal pacemaker

According to the American Heart Association published in a press release, This system would be an interesting technological solution for pacemakers, you require only small amounts of energy to function.

But, In addition, piezoelectricity could be used for other cardiac devices in implant, as defibrillators, They also need small quantity of energy, says Amin Karami, lead author of the study and researcher at the Department of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (United States).

According to Karami, today, the pacemaker must be replaced every five to seven years when its batteries are exhausted, What is expensive and involves a major drawback.

"Many of the patients are children who live for many years with pacemakers. "Imagine how many operations could save themselves if this new technology spreads", explains the scientist.

Tests conducted with the new device were as follows. First of all, the researchers measured the vibrations of the chest, induced by the beating of the heart.

Then, they used a "shaker" to reproduce these vibrations in the laboratory, and they connected it to the prototype of collector of heart energy that had developed.

Measurements on the performance of this prototype, based on a set of 100 heartbeat simulated at different heart rates, They showed that the power collector worked as scientists would have predicted: generating more than 10 times the energy it needs a pacemaker current.

The next step will be to implement this energy collector, whose size is half of the batteries currently used in pacemakers, says Karami. Researchers hope to integrate its technology into commercial pacemaker.


Safe mobile phones

Today, There are two types of energy collectors that could supply power to a typical pacemaker: linear and non-linear. Linear collectors work well with a single specific heart rate, so it changes in such frequencies would do that do not collect enough energy.

On the other hand, a non-linear collector - the type used in this study- It uses magnets to increase energy production, and make that the collector is less sensitive to changes in heart rate.

As a result, the developed nonlinear collector generated the necessary energy from heartbeat of between 20 a 600 beats per minute, to feed continuously on a pacemaker.

Karami says that also found that devices such as mobile phones or microwaves do not affect this non-linear device.


Other solutions

Karami solution is not the first raised to solve the inconvenience of pacemaker batteries.

Last April of 2012, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for ceramic technologies and systems (IKTS) of Germany managed supply power wirelessly from a portable transmitter module to a mobile or "receiver" generator module.

According to scientists, This module will allow feeding distance implants (as a pacemaker), but also systems of dosage of drugs and other medical applications without the need for contact.

On the other hand, nor is this the first time that is achieved to obtain energy from any movement of the body, to take advantage of it to other devices. In this direction, Princeton University engineers (in United States) they developed in 2010 a material able to produce energy from the movements of the human body (career or breathing, for example).

The scientists noted then that this compound, a combination of lead titanate zirconate with silicone rubber (PZT), It could be applied in chips intended for medical devices, as a pacemaker.




By Yaiza Martínez.


Tendencia21.NET [en línea] Madrid (ESP): tendencia21.NET, 14 October of 2013 [REF. 05 November of 2012] Available on Internet: http://Marcapasos-autosuficientes-gracias-a-la-energia-del-corazon_a14072.html



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