Researchers Working on Pacemakers With-out Batteries

by MichelleR on April 23, 2012

Researchers Working on Pacemakers With-out Batteries

 

Q.        “I am 78 years old and have had heart problems off and on for the past six months. Now my cardiologist recommends a pacemaker, but it sounds as if I will need another surgery later to replace the battery. Will the battery situation with pacemakers eventually change? What is the latest information?”

What a great question!

A cardiac pacemaker and an implanted defibrillator are wonderful inventions for thousands of seniors, but there is the worry about batteries to keep them going and the stress of having them surgically replaced. However, scientists may be making progress on a solution – a way of using vibrations from heartbeats to power the devices.

Engineering researchers at the University of Michigan designed a device that harvests energy from the vibrations of heartbeats through the chest and converts it to electricity to run a pacemaker or an implanted defibrillator.

These mini-medical machines send electrical signals to the heart to keep it beating in a healthy rhythm. By taking the place of the batteries, the new energy harvester could save patients from repeated surgeries. Today this is the only way to replace the batteries which lasts 5 to 10 years.

“The idea is to use ambient vibrations that are typically wasted and convert them to electrical energy,” said researcher Amin Karami from the University of Michigan Department of Aerospace Engineering. “If you put your hand on top of your heart, you can feel these vibrations all over your torso.”

Karami’s team, including colleague Daniel Inman, chairman of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan, have not yet built a prototype but have made detailed blueprints and ran  simulations demonstrating that the concept would work.

Just as the changing world of medical technology has made life easier for you and other seniors, so has the availability of non-medical professional caregivers such as the ones employed by the Home Instead Senior Care® network. At Home Instead CAREGiver can help with tasks such as medication reminders, light housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation, errands and companionship, etc. Contact your local office today.

For more information about Home Instead Senior Care®, please contact the Mountain View Office at (650) 691-9671 or go to www.homeinstead.com/168. For more about the pacemaker research, go to http://aerospace.engin.umich.edu/newsevents/index.html#Pacemaker.

by C.Jamieson

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