Epicardial Patch – Monitors and Treats Heart

epicardial patch
Image Source: University of Houston

What can be better than an epicardial patch that can adhere flexibly to the heart, move with the heartbeat, monitor and record, and provide treatment too?

Researchers at the University of Houston have developed an epicardial patch. The epicardial patch is one of its kind as it can monitor as well as provide treatment. The available implantable heart devices, like pacemakers, are rigid. In other words, they do not move flexibly with the heart muscles. Other devices, if soft, collect limited data only. However, the epicardial patch is flexible. The flexible epicardial patch has the ability to flexibly and flawlessly adhere to the pericardium and move with the heartbeat. Additionally, the patch can monitor accurately from multiple locations (spatiotemporal mapping) on the heart; that too without damaging the muscles of the heart. Moreover, it can administer treatments, such as thermal ablation and heart pacing.

The beating of the heart provides power to the patch, i.e., it does not need an external source. It can collect data regarding the electrophysiological activity, temperature, and strain.

Cunjiang Yu, a principal investigator with the Texas Center and a researcher involved in this study, said:

“The device marks the first time bioelectronics has been developed based on fully rubbery electronic materials that are compatible with heart tissue; hence allowing the device to solve the limitations of previous cardiac implants, which are mainly made out of rigid electronic materials.”

He also added:

“Unlike bioelectronics primarily based on rigid materials with mechanical structures that are stretchable on the macroscopic level; constructing bioelectronics out of materials with moduli matching those of the biological tissues suggests a promising route towards next-generational bioelectronics and biosensors that do not have a hard-soft interface for the heart and other organs. Our rubbery epicardial patch is capable of multiplexed ECG mapping; strain and temperature sensing, electrical pacing, thermal ablation and energy harvesting functions.”

Not only can it monitor, but the researchers have designed the patch well enough to make therapeutic interventions.

Yu said:

“For people who have a heart arrhythmia or a heart attack, you need to quickly identify the problem. This device can do that.”

Source: University of Houston

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Dr. Arsia Hanif has been a meritorious Healthcare professional with a proven track record throughout her academic life securing first position in her MCAT examination and then, in 2017, she successfully completed her Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery from Dow University of Health Sciences. She has had the opportunity to apply her theoretical knowledge to the real-life scenarios, as a House Officer (HO) serving at Civil Hospital. Whilst working at the Civil Hospital, she discovered that nothing satisfies her more than helping other humans in need and since then has made a commitment to implement her expertise in the field of medicine to cure the sick and regain the state of health and well-being. Being a Doctor is exactly what you’d think it’s like. She is the colleague at work that everyone wants to know but nobody wants to be. If you want to get something done, you approach her – everyone knows that! She is currently studying with Medical Council of Canada and aspires to be a leading Neurologist someday. Alongside, she has taken up medical writing to exercise her skills of delivering comprehensible version of the otherwise difficult medical literature. Her breaks comprise either of swimming, volunteering services at a Medical Camp or spending time with family.


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