Fibrous membrane designed in Switzerland to protect heart pacemakers

November 27, 2019

As useful as pacemakers may be, they do need to be surgically replaced every few years and may sport a layer of fibrous tissue on its surface by then, which could complicate the removal process, risk infections and so on. However, scientists from the Swiss ETH Zurich Research Institute (ETH Zurich) have designed a new pouch-style membrane that surrounds the pacemaker – made of a cellulose microstructure and a honeycomb-like array of 10 micrometer indentations, fibrotic tissue cells are unable form and adhere to the membrane.

In an animal (pig) test, membrane-bound pacemakers were not rejected by the pigs’ immune systems and had a fibrotic tissue layer only one third as thick as that on a non-encapsulated pacemaker, after a year’s time.

Clinical trials on humans are slated for 2020 at three large cardiac centres in Germany. Meanwhile, the technology is being commercialised by ETH spinoff company Hylomorph, as the Hylomate Pouch.


Category: Features, Technology & Devices

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