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A group of Swiss engineers, who are well known for developing finest watches in the world, are now trying their hands in developing a pacemaker based on the concept of self-winding wristwatch, but without a battery.
Pacemakers are a lifeline for millions of cardiac patients which help them in regularizing their heart beats. But the only limiting factor coming their way is the battery power.
Current pacemakers come with battery system and once their life expires they need to be replaced in the patient via surgical intervention. In such a scenario battery-less pacemakers become dire need for the medical sector.
The cardiovascular engineering group of the University of Bern aims to develop such device that they hope would change the face of cardiac treatment.
Adrian Zurbuchen, one of the group members, says we are trying to replace the batteries with automatic clockwork which was first developed for pocket watches in 1777 by Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet.
Zurbuchen says as an automatic watch winds itself when it is worn on the wrist, the pacemaker with clockwork will also work in similar fashion by generating electrical current using the movement of heart muscle.
The clockwork based pacemaker will be attached directly on to the pulsating heart to get the desired result, Zurbuchen explains.
Presenting the idea before the health experts, medical professionals and researchers at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona on Sunday, Zurbuchen and his team said that they have conducted a successful clinical trial on pigs and with the help of the battery-less pacemakers based on clockworks they were able to regulate the animals’ heart beats to a steady 130 beats per minute.
“This is a feasibility study. We have shown that it is possible to pace the heart using the power of its own motion,” Zurbuchen asserted.
Calling the development ‘probably a good time to look for backers’, the engineering group said that their research is still in its early stage and no human testing has been planned so far. They have even not discussed the idea with potential industrial partners. But the team still looks very confident of giving a battery-less pacemaker to the medical science very soon.