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Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Clinical Articles, Lead Article

First fully-implantable micropacemaker designed for foetal use

The first fully implantable micropacemaker designed for use in a foetus with complete heart block has been developed, with preclinical testing and optimisation reported in a recent issue of the journal Heart Rhythm.1

Lead-author Dr Yaniv Bar-Cohen (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles) said: “Up until now, the pacemaker devices that have been used in an attempt to treat this condition in a foetus were designed for adults…We have lacked an effective treatment option for foetuses.”

“We now have a pacemaker that can be implanted in utero, potentially without harm to the foetus or the mom,” said Dr Ramen Chmait (Director of the Institute for Maternal-Fetal Health, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles). “This novel device provides a real opportunity to prevent miscarriage and premature birth in babies affected with these abnormalities.”

Co-author Dr Gerald E Loeb (Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California) added: “Building on our experience of using microfabrication techniques to create biomedical devices, we have developed a micropacemaker small enough to reside entirely within the foetus…This will allow the foetus to move freely without risk of dislodging the electrodes.”

Dr Yaniv Bar-Cohen (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles)

Dr Yaniv Bar-Cohen (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles)

Designated a Humanitarian Use Device by the USA Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the investigators from the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California anticipate the device will have its first human use in the near future.


1. Bar-Cohen Y, Loeb GE, Pruetz JD, et al. Preclinical testing and optimization of a novel fetal micropacemaker. HeartRhythm 2015.

Published on: April 29, 2015

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