Scientists Use LED to Cure Heart Rhythm Disorder with Gene Therapy

Researchers at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) published a new finding of LED medical application for correcting heart rhythm disorder.

The research team used a bioelectronics defibrillator implanted with LED to reset irregular heartbeat. They developed a system which detects fast arrhythmias in the atrium of a rat’s heart and sends a signal to an LED device placed near the heart. “The flash of light from this LED then causes the heart to generate an electric current itself to halt the arrhythmia. This is made possible by using gene therapy to introduce specific light-sensitive proteins into the heart. This restores the heart’s normal rhythm immediately and automatically,” says principal investigator Daniël Pijnappels of LUMC’s Department of Cardiology.


(Image: Science Translational Medicine)

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder and the current treatment, cardioversion, is based on administering an electric shock to the heart. The treatment has to be done in the hospital under general anaesthesia because of pain. With the new finding, the researchers aim to develop a pain-free alternative therapy.

Pijnappels explained, “The bioelectronic defibrillator can stop atrial fibrillation without an electrical shock. In this way, the heart can be reset in a fully automated manner and at any time. We anticipate that this treatment for atrial fibrillation could improve both the patient’s quality of life and their prognosis.” The researchers emphasize that considerable research is still needed before a treatment can be arrived at that is suitable for patients. According to the researchers, however, it has now been demonstrated that the possibility exists.

The research result was published in latest issued Science Translational Medicine in February.

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