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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

Self-winding pacemaker unveiled

Monday September 1st, 2014

The self-winding wristwatch has been available for decades - and now Swiss researchers are applying its technology to heart pacemakers, a conference heard yesterday.

The researchers unveiled the prototype of a heart pacemaker without a battery the conference of the European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona, Spain.

The device has already been tested successfully on pigs.

The key to the device is to attach the clockwork energy generator directly to the heart, according to the developers.

The motion of the heart winds up the clockwork, which then charges a micro-generator.

The idea came from Professor Rolf Vogel, a cardiologist and engineer at the University of Bern, Switzerland.

One of his researchers Adrian Zurbuchen told the conference: "Our new pacemaker tackles the two major disadvantages of today’s pacemakers. First, pacemaker leads are prone to fracture and can pose an imminent threat to the patient. And second, the lifetime of a pacemaker battery is limited.

"Our energy harvesting system is located directly on the heart and has the potential to avoid both disadvantages by providing the world with a batteryless and leadless pacemaker.”

He explained: "We have shown that it is possible to pace the heart using the power of its own motion.

"The next step in our prototype is to integrate both the electronic circuit for energy storage and the custom-made pacemaker directly into the harvesting device. This will eliminate the need for leads.”

* The self-winding wristwatch was first patented in 1923 by John Harwood, from Bolton, UK.

Tags: Europe | Heart Health

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