Science is advancing day after day, especially in the field of medicene.
If we were to go back just one hundred years and take a well known problem such as heart failure … What could we have done about it? The answer is not much at all. However now we have good medication, heart transplants and such like that can all help someone with this condition survive for many more years.
One device that has helped many patients is the pacemaker. Used to regulate heart beats and giving a helping hand when the heart skips a beat… The first implantable pacemaker was used in 1958 at the Karolinska Institute in sweden. The device failed after a few hours but in the next few decades the research improved and we now have pacemakers that one implanted last on average for 5-10 years.
However, this means that the patient needs to undergo surgery to change the battery in the pacemaker each time it runs out. What if we could implant a device which could last the patient the rest of their lives. Well new research suggests that it may be sooner than we think.
The new device contemplated by researchers at the University of Michigan could recieve its energy from the vibrations created with every heartbeat that the patient produces. If we think for a while of renewable energy the concept seems very plausable indeed. After all what do wind turbines do? The harvest energy created by the wind and through kinetic enrgy turn this into electricity. So why not utilize heartbeats create the energy needed to power the heart when it is having a togh time?
At this moment in time there is no working prototype yet the idea speaks for itself.
The device would consist of a piezoelectric ceramic capable of intecepting vibrations and converting them into 10 microwatts of electrical power. This is in fact far more than a pacemaker currently needs from its battery source.
If you know anyone that has had a pacemaker fitted you will know that going back for an operation to simply change a battery can be an awful task. After all it may only be a minor operation but it is still an operation at the end of the day, and all operations come with risks especially with a heart patient.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were able to eliminate this procedure and give patients a long term fix one that would last them the rest of their lives.
Hopefully there will soon be a workiong model and people will start recieving this new technology savinmg them much hassle and giving them reassurance for the years to come.
For more information on heart disease please visit the British Heart Foundations website.