Rice grain sized chip could keep your heart ticking

November 2nd, 2010 - 1:15 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 2 (IANS) A tiny microchip not much bigger than a grain of rice could monitor the heart round the clock and save lives.

The chip has been designed to pick up the early warning signs of heart failure, a condition that affects almost one million Britons.

The chip works by measuring the heart’s function - including blood pressure - up to 200 times a second.

When a doctor places a hand-held receiver next to the patient’s ribcage, the tiny sensor instantly transmits its findings, reports the Daily Mail.

The problem with current techniques is that they provide only a brief snapshot of what’s going on in the heart, rather than measuring its performance over days or weeks, which can be a more accurate indicator.

If problems can be detected early, it is ­possible to reduce the damage and improve heart function with drugs and surgery.

The chip can be left in place for several months - it is inserted via a tiny tube fed into the heart.

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