Dates: January 2014 - December 2014
Typical treatment for declining heart function or arrhythmias involves expensive surgical implantation of cardiac pacemakers, medical devices which stimulate the heart to beat appropriately. Currently, pacemakers do not operate at optimal conditions, resulting in limited battery life and generic functional settings for patients. Pacemaker batteries have an average life of 5-6 years, leading to frequent necessary replacements and increased mortality from the risks of surgery. Further, the 'one size fits all' approach to current pacemaker settings leads to inefficient pacing that can result in inadequate symptom relief and, in some cases, can damage heart muscle by over-pacing the ventricles. We propose to optimize pacemakers through developing novel software tools that generate patient-specific pacemaker device settings, resulting in: (1) enhanced battery life; (2) decreased/eliminated replacement surgeries; (3) increased symptom relief; and (4) optimal pacing rates. We estimate this has the potential to save £32m for the NHS in the UK.
This project arises from the results obtained in the first phase of the ERC Advanced Grant AdG-246967 VERIWARE (www.veriware.org/), which is concerned with sensor-enabled software-controlled devices (so-called 'everyware'), aiming to develop quantitative modelling, verification and synthesis techniques and tools to support the design and validation of their embedded software. The key innovation is the idea of automated synthesis of optimal rates adapted to patient data. While model-based design and validation are employed in the development of pacemakers, parameter settings are largely pre-defined and not changed upon implantation. Our proposal has the potential to revolutionise the design and manufacture of pacemakers.
Associated ERC Advanced Grant: VERIWARE