Advanced Search
Current and Breaking News for Professionals, Consumers and Media

Click here to learn how to advertise on this site and for ad rates.

Heart Health Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

The Heart: A Tomb for Tiny Pacemakers? Not if we make Them Battery Free

By Staff Editor
May 18, 2017 - 11:37:57 AM

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Ezine
For Email Marketing you can trust

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

( - BUFFALO, N.Y. — Like conventional pacemakers, tiny new leadless pacemakers are designed to work for about 12 years.

But because these devices are placed inside the heart — as opposed to a cavity in the chest — tissue grows around them. As a result, retrieving these devices for a battery replacement might not always be possible. Instead, doctors may allow old pacemakers to pile up inside the heart while inserting new devices as needed.

There is no known danger associated with this practice, but Hooman Ansari, a PhD candidate at the University at Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is working on a tidy solution.

Working under the supervision of M. Amin Karami, assistant professor in UB’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and director of the Intelligent Dynamic Energy and Sensing Systems Lab (IDEAS Lab), Ansari and colleagues are developing a piezoelectric system that converts the heart’s vibrational energy into electricity to power pacemakers. A photograph is available here.

The advancement, which would eliminate the need for pacemaker batteries, is described in papers published in the journals Smart Materials and Structures(May 2) and Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures (May 17).

“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. “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 patient risk that occurs with these procedures.”

Unlike conventional pacemakers, leadless pacemakers are about the size of an AAA battery. They are delivered via a catheter through the leg to the heart, where they regulate the heart beat and blood flow.

An initial device that the IDEAS Lab built and tested is roughly 1 centimeter cubed and shaped like the letter S. Results show it produces sufficient power (at least 10 microwatts) for heart rates from 20 to 100 beats per minute. It does not use magnetics, making it compatible with MRI machines.

A new device they are working on is even smaller. It’s a piezoelectric strip, about a half-centimeter long, that’s designed to buckle as it absorbs vibrational energy from the heart. Simulations suggest it will be capable of generating enough energy to power a heart rate up to 150 beats per minute.

The researcher’s next step is to conduct physical experiments on the new device, and to develop a way to attach a backup power source to the device.

The research was supported by UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s pilot studies program under an award from the National Institutes of Health. The pilot studies program provides seed money to help advance promising new technologies and therapeutics from the conceptual stage to clinical studies.


Top of Page

Heart Health
Latest Headlines

+ What is Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection? (VIDEO)
+ Cardiomyopathy: I Want to Be Fit and Strong
+ Cardiac Cell Therapy for Heart Failure Caused by Muscular Dystrophy Also Improves Skeletal Muscle Function in Mice
+ Detecting the Subtle Signs of Heart Disease in Women
+ Get a Quick Start on Better Heart Health
+ Repairing the Heart One 'Z' at a Time
+ Women Once Considered Low Risk for Heart Disease Shown to Have Evidence of Previous Heart Attack Scars
+ Young Hoopster with Heart Condition Still on the Court
+ Blood Pressure Chart: What Your Reading Means
+ Number of Obese Years Not — Just Obesity — a Distinct Risk Factor for Heart Damage

Contact Us | Job Listings | Help | Site Map | About Us
Advertising Information | HND Press Release | Submit Information | Disclaimer

Site hosted by Sanchez Productions