Imagine a device so small it can be embedded in your t-shirt — a device that non-invasively and painlessly monitors your heart’s electrical signals, predicting dangerous cardiac arrhythmias. Dr. Joseph Starobin did.
Starobin, associate professor of nanoscience in UNCG and NC A&T’s Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, and his team — a postdoctoral researcher and two doctoral students — are currently developing the tiny electrocardiographic device. Starobin believes it can save lives, lower healthcare costs and pose less risk to patients.
“Ideally, this device will allow doctors to catch heart abnormalities at pretty early stages,” he says. “Without miniaturized devices, one can’t catch these problems before symptoms appear.”
Starobin’s team doesn’t have a completed prototype yet, but he expects to have one within the next two years. Starobin worked closely with doctors and biomedical engineers at Duke Medical Center’s electrophysiological catheterization lab to compare recordings of electrical signals done through invasive methods with surface measures.
Currently, he says, EKG’s and catheterization are the only options for diagnosis and monitoring of arrhythmias. The EKG T-Wave Alternans, a non-invasive method where large electrodes are placed on the patient and signals are recorded by a large machine, catches only specific waves.