A newly developed surgical tool could dramatically reduce the time needed to map electrical problems in the heart, according to a Technology Review article by Katherine Bourzac. The tool, an inflatable catheter with stretchable, biocompatible silicon electronics, was developed by John Rogers, cofounder of the startup MC10 and professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne.
The conventional method of mapping electrical activity in the heart is by placing a balloon catheter over the heart tissue and moving it back and forth. The process can take over an hour. The new tool could speed up the mapping process to only a few minutes, reducing the time and risks associated with cardiac procedures. It can also perform ablation of the malfunctioning tissue, which conventionally is done by an additional catheter, and the monitoring of temperature during surgery, which is currently done by a probe placed in the esophagus.
Marvin Slepian, a cardiologist at the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center, is leading the animals trials. The initial test results are published in this week’s edition of the journal Nature Materials.Camilla Andersson