Tiny sensors to be implanted in hearts

January 24, 2002 | Source: UPI Science News

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation will begin implanting tiny, experimental microchip sensors into the hearts of patients, hoping the wireless, battery-less devices will provide early warnings of danger.

The device can give doctors daily reports on pressure in the heart chambers. A change in pressure is one of the first events that occurs when patients with congestive heart failure start the slide toward hospitalization.

The micro-electrical mechanical system device folds up like a flower and can be placed into a catheter, which is inserted into the jugular vein. Under X-ray guidance, the catheter is advanced through blood vessels into the heart. A screw at the base of the microchip anchors the chip into the heart wall.

When a handheld transmitter/receiver is activated outside the body, the microchip delivers a signal that can be picked up and recorded.