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Published on March 4th, 2014 | by Martha Kent

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A 3D printed electronic membrane could save patientis suffering heart attacks

3D technology is getting multiple uses these days in various fields, including the medical one, and 3D printers like Regenovo make us wonder what the future of medical science holds for us. Now, a team of researchers at the University of Illinois and Washington University used this very technology to create an electronic membrane that is attached to the heart and acts like a safety device in case of a heart attack. In fact, this membrane is so well designed that it could keep the heart alive for an indefinite period of time.

These type of heart devices were first introduced back in the 80s, when the membrane was made out of textile material and electrodes were sewn on it. This 3d printed electronic membrane uses the same principle, but due to the 3D technology, it’s more refined, thinner and easier to apply on the heart. It could replace the conventional peacemakers that are currently the main solution for patients with heart problem.

As you can see in the video above, the device uses a network of sensors and electrodes placed in a matter that imitates the spider web and they constantly monitor the heart’s electric activity. The 3D printed membrane prototype was tested on a rabbit heart that was kept in a controlled environment made of nutrient and oxygen-rich solution.

Igor Efimov of Washington University in St. Louis, a biomedical engineer involved in the research project, said that the sensors found in this electronic membrane are able to detect a heart attacks and arrhythmia and they can apply advanced electronic stimuli to various locations that will ultimately save the patient’s life.

The silicon membrane features circuits that are placed in a shaped design and it has similar properties with the pericardium, the heart’s actual membrane.

source: nature magazine


About the Author

I am the senior editor for SciNotions web magazine. In the past, I have also worked in various projects involving science, music, technology and gadgets.



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