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July 27, 2023

Dissolving Cardiac Monitors

NSF-supported biomedical engineers have developed a cardiac device that can offer real-time data collection, restore heart rhythms to normal and simply dissolve when its job is done.

Credit: U.S. National Science Foundation

In the United States, nearly 700,000 people die from heart disease every year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One third of those deaths are the result of complications after a heart-related event. But a new device could help prevent those deaths in the future. We'll explore heart health in the U.S. National Science Foundation's "Discovery Files."

In the days, weeks, and months following a heart episode, serious complications can occur. New technology will allow doctors to keep a closer eye on heart health during this crucial period and could make a significant difference for thousands of Americans each year.

NSF-supported biomedical engineers at George Washington and Northwestern Universities have developed a soft, postage-stamp sized device that may revolutionize heart care. The flexible device can be placed on several areas of the heart and uses an array of sensors to monitor in real time.

The device provides functions well beyond those of traditional pacemakers, transmitting a nuanced picture of overall heart health along with the ability to restore natural rhythm.

Professor Luyao Lu; "We have worked hard on the whole fabrication of this type of devices, so if you have a specific need, we can easily adjust to make it happen."

The device is made of FDA approved biocompatible materials and simply dissolves into the body after the use period, potentially saving thousands of lives lost to infection risks and bypassing expensive surgical extractions.

To hear more science and engineering news, including the researchers making it, subscribe to "NSF's Discovery Files" podcast.

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