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‘Bionic’ Pacemaker Reverses Heart Failure

A new pacemaker restores the heart’s natural rhythm with variability linked to rate of breathing.

Current pacemakers pace the heart at a steady rhythm, but they don’t actually mimic the irregular nuances of a healthy human heart. Analysis of heart rate frequency reveals that heart rate is actually coupled to your breathing. It goes up on inspiration, and down on expiration. A recent Study Finds article discussed an innovative new “bionic” pacemaker that restores this natural, irregular heartbeat. Perhaps the best part is that the team has found a way to reverse heart failure.

Currently, there is no cure for heart failure; drugs can treat it, but they don’t address the issue of damaged tissue not contracting as efficiently as it once did. The new pacemaker restores the variability of a natural heartbeat, and increases the amount of blood the heart can pump throughout the body by 20%. It was developed at the Centre for Heart Research at the University of Auckland, and will undergo trials later this year.

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