Pacemakers are one of those wonders invented by the human being that truly marked a before and after in Medicine. But their placement is not always permanent in a patient, and many times they can be used temporarily.
According an article for medical professionals from the Patient.Info website, “the temporary cardiac pacemaker provides electrical stimulation to a heart that is compromised by alterations in the conduction system, which causes hemodynamic instability ”.
Transient pacemakers that dissolve
In a breakthrough that could greatly ease the burden on patients recovering from heart surgery, a group of scientists has developed a new type of temporary pacemaker that never needs to be removed. This device, pioneer in the world, presides lead and batteries and uses fully biocompatible materials, being its star feature one that looks like a futuristic movie, because the device can dissolve in a harmless way in the body once it has fulfilled its function.
Developed by scientists at Northwestern and George Washington Universities, the new device is a type of temporary pacemaker designed to normalize the heartbeat after a cardiac injury or operation. Typically, the temporary pacemaker consists of sew electrodes into the heart muscle that connect to an external box and that it must be surgically removed days or weeks later, once the normal rhythm has been recovered.
Avoid a second invasive procedure
In addition to the anguish and discomfort of a follow-up invasive procedure, this process can cause rare but serious complications such as infections, blood clots, tissue damage or even see how the wires lodge in the scar tissue. The scientists’ alternative is a fully biocompatible device that weighs less than half a gram and is 250 microns thick.
The temporary device can be implanted in the heart, where a set of integrated electrodes emits an electrical pulse, receiving power wirelessly from an external antenna via NFC. This means that bulky batteries, cables, or rigid hardware are not required, and all implant components can be absorbed naturally by body fluids within 5-7 weeks.
Until now, scientists have tested the device in the hearts of mice, rats, rabbits and canines, as well as in human models, in which it has been shown to be effective in stimulating hearts of different sizes. Interestingly, the dissolution rate can be controlled by its composition and thickness, which allows the team determine the exact number of days the pacemaker will continue to function until it is deactivated.
Undoubtedly, another discovery that would reduce invasive processes in Medicine, and that hopefully it does not take too long to be approved and applied in hospitals around the world.