A miniaturized endocardial electromagnetic energy harvester for leadless cardiac pacemakers

PLoS One. 2020 Sep 28;15(9):e0239667. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0239667. eCollection 2020.


Life expectancy of contemporary cardiac pacemakers is limited due to the use of an internal primary battery. Repeated device replacement interventions are necessary, which leads to an elevated risk for patients and an increase of health care costs. The aim of our study is to investigate the feasibility of powering an endocardial pacemaker by converting a minimal amount of the heart's kinetic energy into electric energy. The intrinsic cardiac muscle activity makes it an ideal candidate as continuous source of energy for endocardial pacemakers. For this reason, we developed a prototype able to generate enough power to supply a pacing circuit at different heart rates. The prototype consists of a mass imbalance that drives an electromagnetic generator while oscillating. We developed a mathematical model to estimate the amount of energy harvested from the right ventricle. Finally, the implemented prototype was successfully tested during in-vitro and in-vivo experiments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Electric Power Supplies*
  • Electromagnetic Radiation*
  • Endocardium / physiology*
  • Equipment Design*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Heart Rate
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Pacemaker, Artificial*
  • Swine
  • Ventricular Function, Right / physiology

Grants and funding

Andreas Haeberlin received 2 grants for this work. There are no grant numbers. This research was supported by the Swiss Heart Foundation and the Bern University Hospital. The sponsors or funders didn't played any role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.