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Research develop pacemaker for reversing heart failure by listening to lungs

by Pragati Singh
heart disease gene

Pacemakers are life-saving medical devices that control and treat several forms of irregular heartbeats. The little device is implanted in the chest to maintain the heart’s rhythm, but it regulates the heartbeat differently from the normal heartbeat.

Following successful animal testing, scientists will test a novel device that more closely mimics this natural timing. The “revolutionary” pacemaker will now be evaluated in New Zealand this year.

Cysoni, a “bionic” pacemaker developed by a team of researchers led by Julian Paton of the University of Auckland, reacts to the body’s impulses in real time.

Rather of ticking along at a fixed rate, this gadget would detect breathing and adjust heart rate appropriately.

In a news release, Paton noted, “If you investigate the frequencies inside your heart rate, you find the heart rate is connected to your breathing.” “It rises with inspiration and falls with expiration, and this is a common occurrence in both animals and humans. And we’re talking about animals that lived 430 million years ago on the earth.”

Inspired by this, researchers began looking into the idea of inventing a new type of pacemaker to help patients with heart failure twenty years ago.

This is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, and it’s characterized by a loss of natural heart rate variability, which is beyond the capabilities of today’s pacemakers. Since the heartbeat of people with this condition is not modulated by their breathing, the scientists decided to see if putting the heart rate variability back into animals with heart failure would do any good.

Their bionic pacemaker is intended to restore heart rate variability by monitoring the lungs and detecting the electrical signals generated by the body as it breathes. According to the study, it then utilizes precisely timed impulses to speed up and slow down the heart as needed, published in Basic Research in Cardiology.

The device saw positive results in rats, so the researchers moved onto sheep, and now they believe they have discovered a way to reverse heart failure, which has proved to be beyond modern medicine thus far.

“Currently, pacemakers trigger a metronomically steady beat, but this study shows introducing a natural variation in the heartbeat improves the heart’s ability to pump blood through the body,” Rohit Ramchandra, study author, said. “The other big news is that we get a 20 percent improvement in cardiac output, which is effectively the ability of the heart to pump blood through the body. And 20 percent is a big number.”

And while current pacemakers generally improve in heart function, the new bionic pacemaker “has far exceeded our expectations,” said Dr. Martin Stiles, a cardiologist who will lead the trial. “This discovery may revolutionize how heart failure patients are paced in the future.”

The next step will be human testing, and scientists are already enrolling patients for the trial, which will kick off later this year in New Zealand.


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