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Heart

New technology allows the heart to become its own pacemaker (Image: Shutterstock)

Pacemakers serve an invaluable purpose, by electrically stimulating a recipient's heart in order to keep it beating at a steady rate. The implantation of a pacemaker is a major surgical procedure, however, plus its presence in the body can lead to complications such as infections. Now, for the first time, scientists have instead injected genes into the defective hearts of pigs, converting unspecialized heart cells into "biological pacemakers."  Read More

A group of researchers has developed a pacemaker powered by an implantable flexible piezoe...

Over the past few decades, cardiac pacemaker technology has improved to the point that pacemakers have become a commonplace medical implant that have helped improve or save the lives of many millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, the battery technology used to power these devices has not kept pace and the batteries need to be replaced on average every seven years, which requires further surgery. To address this problem, a group of researchers from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed a cardiac pacemaker that is powered semi-permanently by harnessing energy from the body's own muscles.  Read More

The One digital stethoscope

Not unlike the fire hydrant, the humble stethoscope is a device that has remained mostly unchanged for quite a long time. Colorado-based Thinklabs Medical, however, is out to change that. The company recently announced its One digital stethoscope, that can electronically amplify chest sounds by over 100x, and analyze that audio via a smartphone app.  Read More

The Cardio First Angel is a simple mechanical device designed to help users provide treatm...

Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the first 15 minutes following a heart attack can be a literal lifesaver, greatly increasing the victim's chances of survival. However, many people aren't trained in CPR and even those who are can be hesitant to step up in the vital first minutes that can mean the difference between life and death. The Cardio First Angel CPR coach is a simple mechanical device that guides even an untrained person in properly administering CPR.  Read More

The researchers say that the injected stem cells regenerated 40 percent of the damaged hea...

In what could mark a significant breakthrough in the treatment of heart disease, researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have successfully repaired damaged tissue in monkey hearts using cells created from human embryonic stem cells. The findings demonstrate an ability to produce these cells on an unprecedented scale and hold great potential for restoring functionally of damaged human hearts.  Read More

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a dual-frequency ultrasoun...

While existing ultrasound technologies are able to identify plaque buildup on artery walls, determining when that plaque is at risk of breaking off, resulting in a heart attack or stroke, has proven a more complicated task. A team of researchers from North Carolina State University has now developed a dual-frequency ultrasound device that could help identify so-called vulnerable plaque and enable a more accurate diagnosis for at-risk patients.  Read More

The mini heart takes the form of a cuff of cardiac tissue, wrapped around a vein

When someone has chronic venous insufficiency, it means that because of faulty valves in their leg veins, oxygen-poor blood isn't able to be pumped back to their heart. The George Washington University's Dr. Narine Sarvazyan has created a possible solution, however – a beating "mini heart" that's wrapped around the vein, to help push the blood through.  Read More

Illustrations of a human heart doing the left ventricular twist (left), and the Harvard mo...

When you think of a beating heart, you probably just picture it flexing in and out, sort of like a rubber ball being squeezed by an invisible hand. In fact, though, its motion is more similar to that of a dish rag being wrung out, with the top of the organ twisting in a clockwise direction while the bottom contracts counterclockwise. It's known as the left ventricular twist, and scientists have now replicated it using artificial muscles. The research could lead to better-functioning cardiac implants, among other things.  Read More

A beating rabbit's heart, fitted with one of the membranes (Photo: Igor Efimov)

When it comes to monitoring the electrical activity of the heart, or delivering electrical stimulation to it (as in the case of pacemakers), most current technologies rely on electrodes that make contact with the organ in just a few locations. That doesn't necessarily provide a very detailed picture of what's going on, nor does it deliver stimulation all that evenly. Now, scientists have created a sensor-laden three-dimensional elastic membrane that can be pulled over the whole heart, to provide a large number of contact points.  Read More

Built in three pieces using a flexible filament, the 3D-printed heart reportedly took arou...

3D printing technology has assisted in life-saving heart surgery performed on a 14-month old child, with engineers at the University of Louisville producing a printed model of the child's heart prior to the procedure that enabled doctors to better prepare for the operation.  Read More

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