Unlike existing pacemakers and implantable defibrillators that are one-size-fits all, the new device is a thin, stretchable membrane designed to fit over the heart like a custom-made glove.
Washington University biomedical engineer Igor Efimov co-led its development. He says the membrane is imprinted with a network of specialized sensors that can monitor the heart 24-7.
"When it senses such a catastrophic event as a heart attack or arrhythmia, it can also apply a high definition therapy. So it can apply stimuli, electrical stimuli from different locations on the device in an optimal fashion to stop this arrhythmia and prevent sudden cardiac death."
Efimov calls the new device a huge advance and hopes it will be approved for use in patients in 10 to 15 years.