• Ga. Tech scientist helps create pacemaker that's powered by your heartbeat

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    ATLANTA - Scientists say they have potentially made a big leap in medical technology: They have successfully tested a pacemaker that does not require batteries. It runs off a person's heart. 

    According to the American Heart Association, a pacemaker is a small device that helps your
    heart beat more regularly. It does this with a small electric stimulation that helps control your
    heartbeat.

    Doctors check pacemakers every three to six months, and the batteries last five to eight years or longer. 

    But a team of American and Chinese scientists, led by Dr. Zhong Lin Wang from Georgia Tech, created a pacemaker device that harvests its energy from the user’s beating heart and it's been successfully tested on pigs.


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    The pigs were used because their hearts are about the same size as human hearts.

    The Sun said the new device could mean users do not need an operation to replace empty batteries.

    The device uses a high-tech “energy harvester” that is wrapped around the heart and generates electricity from movement.

    Wang noted that the energy harvested by the new device is higher than that needed for a human pacemaker. It was able to correct potentially fatal heart conditions in pigs, the Sun said.

    However, it could be some years before that these types of pacemakers are ready to be implanted safely into human patients.

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