Fully implantable and bioresorbable cardiac pacemakers without leads or batteries

Yeon Sik Choi, Rose T. Yin, Anna Pfenniger, Jahyun Koo, Raudel Avila, K. Benjamin Lee, Sheena W. Chen, Geumbee Lee, Gang Li, Yun Qiao, Alejandro Murillo-Berlioz, Alexi Kiss, Shuling Han, Seung Min Lee, Chenhang Li, Zhaoqian Xie, Yu Yu Chen, Amy Burrell, Beth Geist, Hyoyoung JeongJoohee Kim, Hong Joon Yoon, Anthony Banks, Seung Kyun Kang, Zheng Jenny Zhang, Chad R. Haney, Alan Varteres Sahakian, David Johnson, Tatiana Efimova, Yonggang Huang, Gregory D. Trachiotis, Bradley P. Knight, Rishi K. Arora, Igor R. Efimov, John A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Temporary cardiac pacemakers used in periods of need during surgical recovery involve percutaneous leads and externalized hardware that carry risks of infection, constrain patient mobility and may damage the heart during lead removal. Here we report a leadless, battery-free, fully implantable cardiac pacemaker for postoperative control of cardiac rate and rhythm that undergoes complete dissolution and clearance by natural biological processes after a defined operating timeframe. We show that these devices provide effective pacing of hearts of various sizes in mouse, rat, rabbit, canine and human cardiac models, with tailored geometries and operation timescales, powered by wireless energy transfer. This approach overcomes key disadvantages of traditional temporary pacing devices and may serve as the basis for the next generation of postoperative temporary pacing technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1228-1238
Number of pages11
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work made use of the NUFAB facility of Northwestern University’s NUANCE Center, which has received support from the Soft and Hybrid Nanotechnology Experimental Resource (NSF no. ECCS-1542205); the MRSEC program (NSF no. DMR-1720139) at the Materials Research Center; the International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN); the Keck Foundation; and the State of Illinois, through the IIN. This work was also performed in part at The George Washington University Nanofabrication and Imaging Center. We acknowledge support from the Leducq Foundation projects RHYTHM and R01-HL141470 (to I.R.E. and J.A.R.). R.T.Y. acknowledges support from the American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship (no. 19PRE34380781). R.A. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF no. 1842165) and the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. Z.X. acknowledges the support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 12072057) and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (grant no. DUT20RC(3)032). B.P.K. and D.J. acknowledge support from a research donation by Mr and Mrs Ronald and JoAnne Willens. We thank NU Comprehensive Transplant Center Microsurgery Core for help with cardiac implantation surgical procedures. We also thank the Washington Regional Transplant Community, heart organ donors and families of the donors; our research would not have been possible without their generous donations and support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine


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