A recent News Medical article discussed a new wireless pacemaker capable of recharging its battery through the conversion of mechanical energy into electrical energy. The research, set to be presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2023, explores the potential for leadless pacemakers to extend their battery life. Unlike traditional pacemakers, leadless ones cannot easily replace their batteries, leading to the impracticality of implanting new pacemakers alongside the old ones in cases of battery depletion, especially for younger patients.
The study involved testing three prototype devices in a cardiac pressure simulator, mimicking the heart's oscillating pressures. The best prototype managed to harvest about 10% of the energy required for the next heartbeat. The next steps involve optimizing materials and fabrication to improve energy harvesting efficiency, with the goal of partnering with major pacemaker companies to integrate this design into existing leadless pacemakers. If successful, the innovation could reduce the need for multiple implants, benefiting patients and improving their quality of life.