New technological advances could mean the end to pacemaker battery surgeries. The American researchers from the University of Michigan have engineered a new pacemaker. They used piezoelectric materials, which generate small amounts of electricity with the changing movements of their shape.
The researchers used the natural movement of the heart to fuel the piezoelectric materials. Initial testing has showed that the heart would generate 10 times the amount of energy needed for the pacemaker to run.
Currently, pacemakers need their batteries changed every seven years. That would mean a child fitted with a pacemaker could have 10 or more heart surgeries in their lifetime. The new technology would mean they would only need one surgery for it to be implemented.
The researchers are looking at testing the technology with a real heart and try to retrofit it in a commercial pacemaker.
The medical director at the British Heart Foundation, Professor Peter Weissberg, says that, “Advancing technology over recent years has meant people with pacemakers need to change their battery less often. This device could be another step forward along this path. If researchers can refine the technology and it proves robust in clinical trials, it would further reduce the need for battery changes.”