The first fetal pacemaker was developed by the University of Southern California, which has just published the details on Ieee Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and only expects the first patient to experiment.
The device, which has the shape of a cylinder of less than 4 millimeters in length, will serve to treat fetuses with problems such as congenital heart block, which begins to have an impact on development from the twenty-eighth week, and that every year in the states United manifests itself in over 500 pregnancies.
The pacemaker is made up of just 7 components and has a very simple design, the same as the early pacemakers of the 1950s, and also the material used for the casing is the 'old' epoxy resin, and not the modern titanium too cumbersome . The most difficult detail to accomplish was finding a small enough battery to enter a few millimeter tube. Researchers have devised a one-week lithium battery, which is recharged by exposing the mother to a radio frequency. Once born the baby can be operated to receive a normal pacemaker.
The device has been tested successfully on the sheep, and has already received the FDA free way for human use, the researchers wait for the first patient. "The pacemaker is small enough to be implanted in the external wireless fetus," says Ieee Spectrum Gerald Loeb, one of the creators, and with a minimally invasive technique. "
That now being in another body is no longer a condition preventing surgery is shown by several published examples, from which it is seen that the time for operations is also more and more anticipated.
A few weeks ago, for example, a team at the Children's Hospital in Philadelpia announced that it had removed a tumor from the heart of a fetus at week 21, lowering its previous primacy to 24, allowing Mummy to finish pregnancy. Other interventions such as the twin-spine correction, which once came to birth, are now almost routine in the uterus. The same pregnancy, for children born very prematurely, could be accomplished in an artificial uterus, recently described in Nature Communications and also experimented in this case on sheep, which can provide a much more similar environment to maternal Compared to incubators.