Posts Tagged ‘innovations in cardiology’

Artificial pacemaker is one of the major discoveries in cardiology that has given new lease of life to patients suffering from serious bradycardia and heart blocks . Now, the technology has grown beyond pacing , for delivering shock ,defibrillate , resynchronise failing heart etc. For accomplishing  all these tasks we need electrical power . . . non stop on board !

Though , the energy required for sustaining an electric pacemaker is miniscule (About 40 micro watts) still, the lithium ion battery can last only around  10 years with the available technology.Various alternate sources for power* are being  explored. One great innovation is on the horizon .A new “scientific spark”  came from a totally unexpected  quarter.

 If Automatic Swiss watch can run without a battery  life long ?  Why not a cardiac  pacemaker  ?

 How about harvesting mechanical energy from the heart itself  ? (The ultimate biological bundle of energy ! ) .

The concept was  originally suggested by University of Berne Switzerland , researchers from Stanford has successfully used the cardiac  muscle activity as a dynamo to generate and store minute amount of electricity that can sustain heartbeats in an electro  mechanical coil loop model.


A person’s heartbeat  moves a magnet and generate electricity for a pacemaker


Trials done on pig’s heart are promising .(Reference 1)

Final message 

The idea may look dramatic , but it works.Hope  it becomes reality in our patients in near future.

Further reading

* Creating gene modified  biological pacemaker cell is .

Sharing this  article from  Via: New Scientist

By Lisa Zyga
Science Blogger

  At first glance, this idea seems somewhat impossible, like using the movement of an engine’s pistons to power a car. However, researchers David Tran and his colleagues from Stanford University explain in a recent patent that the idea is very plausible. For one thing, a heart-powered pacemaker can generate and store more electricity than required to operate, and use the stored energy when needed. Also, a battery could be included in the pacemaker, and power from the heart would extend the life of the battery.

Overall, the researchers hope that the invention could at least double the lifetime of today’s pacemakers. Currently, the batteries in pacemakers can last up to ten years, although they typically last only four to five years. (Originally, batteries lasted for as little as a year.)

The invention also has the potential to reduce the size of the pacemaker by one-half or more. For example, a typical commercial pacemaker with a volume of 16 milliliters may be reduced in overall size to as small as 1-8 milliliters.

An embedded generator could continuously produce power in several ways, such as through electromagnetic induction or the piezoelectric effect (electric energy generated via mechanical stress).

In the Stanford team’s design, the generator is implanted near the heart wall, such as attached to the myocardium or pericardium, which would subject the generator to regular pulsating movements produced by the beating heart.

The generator itself consists of a magnet, a conductor (both micro- or even nano-sized), and electrical leads hooked up to the medical device. Contraction of the heart muscle causes relative motion between the magnet and the conductor (such as a coil of wire). This relative motion between the magnetic and coil induces an electric current in the wire, which is transmitted through the leads to the implanted pacemaker.

Movements produced by the beating heart would have a frequency of between about 0.5 Hz and 2 Hz, which could generate between 40 microwatts and 200 microwatts of power. The pacemaker would only require about 40 microwatts, so the excess power could be stored and used for later use, such as when the heart stops beating.

Besides using the movement generated by the muscular contractions of the heart, other versions of the pacemaker could generate power from heat differentials, physiological pressures, and flows and movements, such as blood flow. And in addition to pacemakers, the researchers suggest that similar systems could be used to power defibrillators, ventricular assist devices, muscle , neurological stimulators, cochlear implants, monitoring devices, and drug pumps.



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Interventional  cardiologists should revere  few  names for ever  . . .

They are

  1. Werner Forssman
  2. Masan Sones
  3. Andreas  Gruentzig
  4. Sven-Ivar   Seldinger

Sweden's Pride and cardiologist's ultimate Hero !

The  other men  in the  above  list  gave us insight  to enter the heart and do cardiac catheterization  and selective  angiograms

Ironically ,   the  man who  provided an easy access* to cardiovascular  system  from the  periphery is less often  remembered.  Still , it is because of him millions of procedure  are done every  year .

Every cardiologist should  read the life history of this great man.

*Previously all interventions are done in laborious  arterial or venous cut down

How the invention came about ?

“It is a  sudden attack of common sense”   That  is how seldinger described in his own words

Why not a Nobel prize for  Seldinger’s  sense which was so  uncommon to others  ?

If common sense has to be rewarded Nobel price ,  Seldinger’s    would probably will rank   first  among  all !


  1. http://ww.ajronline.org/cgi/reprint/142/1/8
  2. http://www.ajronline.org/cgi/reprint/142/1/8.pdf

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