Self Powered Pacemaker

March 14, 2012 at 10:57 AM Leave a comment

The advances in medical device technology over the past several decades have been exponential, much like technological advances in other fields.  These medical devices have helped people live longer, more independent, and better fulfilled lives. A popular example of such a device is a cardiac pacemaker, where future improvements continue to develop.  Recently, researchers at the University of Michigan have designed a device where pacemakers will be powered by heartbeat vibrations, eliminating the need for a battery. An article on describes more details of the design and how the device works.

The advantage of self-powered pacemakers for patients and for the healthcare system overall is the elimination of follow-up surgery currently required to replace batteries every 5-10 years. Patients need not go through invasive procedures in order to maintain their standard of living. This would also lower the cost for patients with cardiac problems that result in the need for a pacemaker.  Should the pacemaker powered by heartbeats end up costing more to produce than current battery-powered models, the overall costs in the long run without additional surgeries would certainly still make for a more economical device.

If the pacemaker being developed at the University of Michigan is successful, the potential for this technology to be applied to other medical devices is high. An article on states the power source could be applied to implantable cardioverter defibrillators as well for patients who are at risk for sudden cardiac death. Who knows what other devices that now rely on battery power could eventually be powered by the human body’s endogenous vibrations? It is inspiring to see such innovation still occurring within the healthcare arena, and hopefully the advances will continue to help increase cost effectiveness and improve the benefits to patients.

Author: Jamie Notaro

Editor: Ken Chiang


Entry filed under: Comparative Effectiveness Data, Healthcare Economics, Lifecycle Management, Preventive Care.

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