Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

3-D printer creates transformative device for heart treatment

Date:
February 25, 2014
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
Using an inexpensive 3-D printer, biomedical engineers have developed a custom-fitted, implantable device with embedded sensors that could transform treatment and prediction of cardiac disorders. The 3-D elastic membrane is made of a soft, flexible, silicon material that is precisely shaped to match the heart’s outer layer of the wall. Current technology is two-dimensional and cannot cover the full surface of the epicardium or maintain reliable contact for continual use without sutures or adhesives. The team can then print tiny sensors onto the membrane that can precisely measure temperature, mechanical strain and pH, among other markers, or deliver a pulse of electricity in cases of arrhythmia.

Igor Efimov, PhD, the Lucy & Stanley Lopata Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, works with Sarah Gutbrod, PhD candidate in biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, in Efimov's lab in Whitaker Hall. Efimov and a team of researchers are developing a custom-fitted, implantable device that can deliver treatment or predict an impending heart attack before a patient shows any physical symptoms.
Credit: James Byard/WUSTL Photos

Using an inexpensive 3-D printer, biomedical engineers have developed a custom-fitted, implantable device with embedded sensors that could transform treatment and prediction of cardiac disorders.

Igor Efimov, PhD, at the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis and an international team of biomedical engineers and materials scientists have created a 3-D elastic membrane made of a soft, flexible, silicon material that is precisely shaped to match the heart's epicardium, or the outer layer of the wall of the heart. Current technology is two-dimensional and cannot cover the full surface of the epicardium or maintain reliable contact for continual use without sutures or adhesives.

The team can then print tiny sensors onto the membrane that can precisely measure temperature, mechanical strain and pH, among other markers, or deliver a pulse of electricity in cases of arrhythmia. Those sensors could assist physicians with determining the health of the heart, deliver treatment or predict an impending heart attack before a patient exhibits any physical signs.

The findings were published online in Nature Communications Feb. 25, 2014.

"Each heart is a different shape, and current devices are one-size-fits-all and don't at all conform to the geometry of a patient's heart," says Efimov, the Lucy & Stanley Lopata Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering. "With this application, we image the patient's heart through MRI or CT scan, then computationally extract the image to build a 3-D model that we can print on a 3-D printer. We then mold the shape of the membrane that will constitute the base of the device deployed on the surface of the heart."

Ultimately, the membrane could be used to treat diseases of the ventricles in the lower chambers of the heart or could be inserted inside the heart to treat a variety of disorders, including atrial fibrillation, which affects 3 million to 5 million patients in the United States.

"Currently, medical devices to treat heart rhythm diseases are essentially based on two electrodes inserted through the veins and deployed inside the chambers," Efimov says. "Contact with the tissue is only at one or two points, and it is at a very low resolution. What we want to create is an approach that will allow you to have numerous points of contact and to correct the problem with high-definition diagnostics and high-definition therapy."

Co-leading the team with Efimov is John Rogers, PhD, the Swanlund Chair and professor of materials science and engineering and director of the F. Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Rogers, who developed the transfer printing technique, developed the sensors using semiconductor materials including silicon, gallium arsenide and gallium nitride, along with metals, metal oxides and polymers.

Recently, Google announced its scientists had developed a type of contact lens embedded with sensors that could monitor glucose levels in patients with diabetes. Efimov says the membrane his team has developed is a similar idea, though much more sophisticated.

"Because this is implantable, it will allow physicians to monitor vital functions in different organs and intervene when necessary to provide therapy," he says. "In the case of heart rhythm disorders, it could be used to stimulate cardiac muscle or the brain, or in renal disorders, it would monitor ionic concentrations of calcium, potassium and sodium." Efimov says the membrane could even hold a sensor to measure troponin, a protein expressed in heart cells and a hallmark of a heart attack. Analysis for troponin is standard of care for patients with suspected heart attacks due to a test developed by Jack Ladenson, PhD, the Oree M. Carroll and Lillian B. Ladenson Professor of Clinical Chemistry in Pathology and Immunology and professor of clinical chemistry in medicine at the School of Medicine.

Ultimately, such devices will be combined with ventricular assist devices, Efimov says. "This is just the beginning," he says. "Previous devices have shown huge promise and have saved millions of lives. Now we can take the next step and tackle some arrhythmia issues that we don't know how to treat."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. The original article was written by Beth Miller. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lizhi Xu, Sarah R. Gutbrod, Andrew P. Bonifas, Yewang Su, Matthew S. Sulkin, Nanshu Lu, Hyun-Joong Chung, Kyung-In Jang, Zhuangjian Liu, Ming Ying, Chi Lu, R. Chad Webb, Jong-Seon Kim, Jacob I. Laughner, Huanyu Cheng, Yuhao Liu, Abid Ameen, Jae-Woong Jeong, Gwang-Tae Kim, Yonggang Huang, Igor R. Efimov, John A. Rogers. 3D multifunctional integumentary membranes for spatiotemporal cardiac measurements and stimulation across the entire epicardium. Nature Communications, 2014; 5 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4329

Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "3-D printer creates transformative device for heart treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225122223.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2014, February 25). 3-D printer creates transformative device for heart treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225122223.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "3-D printer creates transformative device for heart treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140225122223.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) South Koreans eat more instant ramen noodles per capita than anywhere else in the world. But American researchers say eating too much may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins