Northwestern University scientists have unveiled a new, smart version of the transient pacemaker introduced just one year ago. The implantable, wireless device dissolves in the body after it’s no longer needed, and now has a coordinated network of four soft, flexible, wireless, wearable sensors and control units placed around the upper body.
The sensors continuously monitor body temperature, oxygen levels, respiration, muscle tone, physical activity and the heart’s electrical activity. The system can then analyze this combined activity to autonomously detect abnormal cardiac rhythms and decide when to pace the heart and at what rate. The information is streamed to a smartphone or tablet, so physicians can remotely monitor their patients.
The new device can be used in patients who need temporary pacing after cardiac surgery or are waiting for a permanent pacemaker. The pacemaker also wirelessly harvests energy from a node within the network, which eliminates the need for external hardware, including wires (or leads).
The work was led by Northwestern’s John Rogers, Rishi Arora and Igor R. Efimov. Their study was published in the journal Science.