A PACEMAKER which boosts the ticker’s strength by a fifth may give heart attack sufferers a new lease of life.
Current devices keep the heart beating at a constant pace but researchers have developed one with a more natural rhythm.
It reads the body’s breathing signals to speed up and slow down the heart with every breath. Trials in rats found the new model increased the amount of blood pumped round their bodies by 20 per cent.
The improvement appears to reverse the effect of heart failure and makes everyday tasks and exercise much easier.
The Bristol University team now hopes to trial the device in humans.
In Britain around 900,000 live with heart failure while 1.4million have had a heart attack.
Pacemakers are often used to speed up the heart or to overcome electrical conduction issues between its chambers. There is no cure for heart failure and its progression is only slowed by medication.
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Consultant cardiologist Dr Ed Duncan said: “We are very excited by this large response.”
Prof Julian Paton added: “Our findings give hope for heart failure patients and may revolutionise the future design of pacemakers.”