"Currently, all pacemakers stimulate the the heart in a metronomic way, which means a very constant and uniform rhythm. But when you record the heart rate in a healthy individual, you see that he is constantly on the move. "
This is Professor's statement Julian Paton, lead researcher and director of Manaaki Manawa, the Center for Heart Research at the University of Auckland.
Paton is part of a group of researchers who are patenting a new form of pacemaker, more flexible to the variation of the heartbeat (I Research results have just been published in the flagship journal Basic Research in Cardiology).
As the heart works, so does the technology
Thinking about how our heart system works, doctors came up with a new instrument. The heart needs someone to help it fight, leaving it free to move as it sees fit.
“If we analyze the rates within your heart rate, we find that heart rate is coupled with breathing. It increases with inhalation and decreases with exhalation, and this is a natural phenomenon in all animals and humans. "
The newly developed system restores the naturally irregular heartbeat. It will be tested this year on New Zealand heart patients, after the positive result obtained from tests on animals.
A revolutionary pacemaker
By analyzing the beat patterns of patients with cardiovascular disease, the doctors noticed an almost total loss of heart rate variability. The irregularity of the beats gives way to something unusual, a symptom that the situation is getting worse.
To sort this out, Professor Parton and his team of researchers decided to "to report heart rate variability in animals with heart failure"and analyze the results.
Dr. Julia Shanks, the researcher who conducted the research on animals, later said: "There is nothing on the market that will cure heart failure. All the drugs will do is make you feel better. (...) Our new pacemaker reports this variability, which is obviously natural ".
Then there is another big news. The new system achieves "a 20% improvement in cardiac output" (the heart's ability to pump blood through the body).
"The pacemaker is almost like a bionic device," says Paton. "It understands the body's signals that tell the device when we inhale and when we exhale. And then the device has to communicate to the body and accelerate the heartbeat on inhalation and downward on exhalation."
Doctor Martin Stiles, the cardiologist who will lead the study, was very positive about it.
"We generally see improvements in heart function with current pacemakers, but this bionic pacemaker has far exceeded our expectations. This discovery could revolutionize how heart failure patients will be stimulated in the future."
The trials will begin shortly, and we could get the first results by the end of the year.