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Fortschritte der Elektrotherapie durch Mikroelektronik und Nanotechnologie

It is a characteristic of Biomedical Engineering that the latest achievements of many fields of science and technology are very rapidly incorporated into products. This is especially true for the High-Tech devices of the electrotherapy of the heart, like implantable pacemakers and defibrillators. The perfect function and reliability of the microelectronic circuits in implants that are designed to ensure the survival of the patient is obviously a must and all products fulfill very stringent specifications in this respect. At the beginning of the new millenium the frontiers of development in this field have shifted to new key issues as the spectrum of the different forms of therapies that can be delivered by pacemakers and defibrillators constantly broadens with the objective to not only save the life of the patient but to restore the normal functioning of his cardiovascular system and thus markedly increase his quality of life. As a basis for developing these new forms of therapy it is necessary to make use of the combined knowledge from many areas of natural sciences, engineering and medicine. Obtaining information on the state of the heart is the fundamental task of any form of electrotherapy. The fractal coated pacemaker lead allows the broadband measurement of electrical signals from the heart paired with a high signal to noise ratio. The fractal coating on the nano-scale makes use of one of the most simple building principles from nature and allows to manufacture electrodes for pacemakers and defibrillators with an unprecedently high surface to volume ratio. With a deeper understanding of cardiovascular control a second step of electrotherapy has been undertaken. The baroreflex provides the dominant feedback mechanism in the regulation of the blood pressure and thus the mechanic pump function of the heart. State-of-the-art electronic implants are firmly integrated into this main conrol loop and restore the correct adaptation to the demand that has been lost by pathologic alterations of the system. Thus the patient can lead a normal life with only minor restrictions. Novel approaches like four-chamber, multi-site or large area stimulation are designed to suppress atrial fibrillation or to restore the pumping function of the left ventricle in case of left-bundle-branch block. Newly designed measurement setups allow to access currently unused system parameters that provide a wider view of the system state. Methods from statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics paired with fuzzy logic or neural networks open the road to future generations of 'intelligent implants ' that are able to 'learn' and 'act' according to the immanent requirements without external interference or can interact with experts via highly developed communication channels.

Type of Seminar:
New Vistas
Prof. Dr. M. Schaldach
Geschäftsführender Direktor, Zentralinstitut für Biomedizinische Technik, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Turnstrasse 5, D-91054 Erlangen, Deutschland
Apr 03, 2000   17.15

Contact Person:

Prof. Dr. Peter Boesiger
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Biographical Sketch:
Max Schaldach received the Diploma in Physics, and the Dr.-Ing. degree from the Technical University, Berlin in 1964 and 1966, respectively, in the areas of solid-state physics, electrochemistry, and electronics. In 1969, he joined the faculty as professor of experimental physics. Since 1970, he has been professor of physics and chairman of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, at the Friedrich-Alexander-University, Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. His research activities include solid-state physics, materials sciences, electrochemistry, and biomedical engineering; protein-solid interaction with electron transfer reactions in solutions and living tissue, resulting in an electrochemical model of protein activation, and biomaterials, electrophysiology, electrotherapy, and microelectronics. During the past 30 years, his industrial activities have resulted in the development of electronic implants, i.e., heart pacemakers, neurostimulators, defibrillators, and cardiac assist systems, and other microelectronics and diagnostic equipment, with more than 150 inventions. He has founded several high-technology companies in the biomedical industry, as well as two microelectronic companies. Prof. Schaldach is co-editor of The Journal of Biomedizinische Technik, and has served on the editorial and advisory boards of many scientific journals and professional organizations. His scientific activities include Electrotherapy of the Heart and two volumes on Engineering in Medicine, over 700 papers, numerous review articles, selected chapters written for scientific textbooks and encyclopedia, and more than 900 presentations at scientific congresses. He has helped organize over 60 national and international scientific conferences and symposia. He is past president of the German Society of Biomedical Engineering, and a member of the board of directors of the International Federation of Biomedical Engineering. Prof. Schaldach is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including recognition in 1989 by the president of the Federal Republic of Germany with the country's highest and most distinguished service medal for outstanding technical and industrial developments.