A new pacemaker model described in the journal Nature Communications has been successfully tested in pigs. The specific feature of this pacemaker is that it draws its energy from the heartbeat: it would therefore be implanted “for life” according to the researchers, unlike the pacemakers currently used. These are “powered by bulky batteries,” which have “a limited life span and require several interventions to replace them”. This technique could also be used for other implants, such as neural stimulators and connected objects.
This new model – called a ‘symbiotic pacemaker’ – was developed by the team of Professors Zhou Li (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and Zhong Lin Wang (Chinese Academy of Sciences and Georgia Institute of Technology, USA). The authors consider it to be “an improved version of a self-powered pacemaker,” which has proved itself in small animals such as rats in recent years. Although pigs have the same size heart as humans, “various challenges still need to be overcome” to achieve clinical applications.