This Week in Devices [11/9/2012]
It's all about the heart this week: Boston Scientific is set to purchase renal denervation device maker Vessex Vascular. A company has created an iPhone app to record ECG. Engineers develop a pacemaker that can be powered by a heartbeat.
Boston Scientific to Purchase Vessex Vascular
Boston Scientific is entering the high blood pressure treatment market with a a reported $425 million purchase of Vessex Vascular, a manufacturer of renal denervation systems. The company had been developing similar devices on its own but says it will now shift resources over to Vessex. Though renal denervation systems are used in Europe, none have been FDA approved for use in the U.S. This aquisition by Boston Scientific could be seen as a move directly at competitor Medtronic, who is expected to have an renal denervation device approved by 2014. [Wall Street Journal]
An iPhone ECG
A company, AliveCor, has created an attachment and app for the iPhone 4 and 4S that allows users to quickly and easily get an ECG reading of their heart and even send the information to their healthcare provider. The device has not yet received FDA approval but industry leaders like Dr. Eric Topol have trumpeted devices like this as a good step in preliminary testing and providing faster, more efficient healthcare. [Wired]
A Heart-Powered Pacemaker
Aerospace engineers from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor have developed a prototype pacemaker that can be powered by the very heart it is treating. The device used piezoelectricity to convert motion into electricity – meaning the device can be powered by a patient's heartbeat. The new technology could be a big step in overcoming the cost and inconvenience of battery-powered pacemakers, which need to be removed every 5-7 years as their batteries die. [Medical News Today]