WiSE: A Heart Implant that Mimics a Natural Heartbeat

A new device called WiSE has been invented by the cardiologists to replace the cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). It is a breakthrough invention in the history of implants because WiSE is the size of a grain of rice and is efficient.

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is an implant used on heart patients at present. On an average 150,000 patients receive CRT implants each year so as to keep their heart chambers pumping in synchrony. Nevertheless, nearly one- third of them do not benefit from such expensive and invasive procedure.

Wireless Stimulation of the Endocardium- WiSE is developed mainly to target such portion of patients referred to as, “non- responders.” It is controlled by ultrasonic pulses that moderate the heartbeat.

CRT implants require three electrodes to be attached to patients heart. These electrodes are attached by leads that maintain the synchronized beating of the heart’s chambers. The first two leads are inserted into the right atrium and ventricle. The third lead is inserted through a vein that wraps around the heart. The third step is the most difficult step and thereby requires utmost precision. If the third lead is placed where scar tissue is present, it won’t be able to stimulate the heart.

WiSE has a tiny electrode that attaches to the inner wall of the left ventricle. To allow the heart cells to grow over the electrode and encapsulate it, a polyester scaffold is placed over it. Further, WiSE has 47 piezoelectric elements that produce an electric charge when it senses mechanical stress.

WiSE can also work with already implanted CRT devices and other pacemakers that fail to maintain the synchronized heartbeat among the patients affected. WiSE can detect the signals emitted by these devices and coordinate pulses to the left ventricle for every heartbeat.

WiSE is able to replicate the natural activation of the heart much more closely when compared to CRT implants. Primarily because WiSE is nestled inside the heart, generating a wave of electricity that starts from inside the heart and radiates outward, mimicking a natural heartbeat.

CRT involves a lot of risks and may at times lead to further heart failure. Results revealed that after applying WiSE on CRT “non- responders” or who simply didn’t qualify for the surgery itself, the condition of 85% of the patients improved greatly.

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Shobith MAKAM Written by: