Wednesday 16 Apr 2014

Information and opinions presented here do not always represent the views of the American Heart Association.

SimpleScience@Heart: New device powers pacemakers with your heartbeat

Published: 5:00 pm CDT, November 4, 2012

Researchers have found a way to convert a heartbeat into energy that can power a pacemaker.

In a preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012, aerospace engineers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor developed a prototype cardiac energy harvester. When they connect it to a shaker that makes heartbeat-like vibrations, it generates more than 10 times the energy required to power a pacemaker.

The new device uses piezoelectricity — a fancy word for electrical charge generated from motion.

The approach is promising for pacemakers, because they require only small amounts of power to operate. The heart-powered energy might also power other implantable cardiac devices.

Today’s pacemakers must be surgically replaced every five to seven years when their batteries run out. The new device could one day eliminate the need for replacement pacemakers. It could be especially useful for children who live with pacemakers for many years.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003407287691 Gabi

    Hi, I’m sorry you’re having a tough time. I’m not a dotcor or nurse but I can tell you that in general, the main indication for getting a pacemaker is an arrhythmia or rhythm disorder of the heart. The heart may beat too slowly or out of sync. Sometimes people have a condition where the top part of the heart beats more rapidly (or more slowly) than the bottom part, resulting in reduced cardiac output.Your doc may refer you to a cardiologist or an electrophysiologist. They will likely want to do an ECG to look at a graphic illustration of the heart’s rhythm. Nausea is not typically a pacemaker symptom but lightheadedness can be. Of course, lightheadedness can be a symptom of many things.Main symptoms for pacing: dizziness, feeling weak, lightheadedness, feeling like you might faint or actually fainting.A good place to check in and ask questions is PacemakerClub.com. You have to register but it’s free and the folks are very friendly. Most of them already have pacemakers and defibrillators.