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An epicardial bioelectronic patch made from soft rubbery materials and capable of spatiotemporal mapping of electrophysiological activity

Abstract

An epicardial bioelectronic patch is an important device for investigating and treating heart diseases. The ideal device should possess cardiac-tissue-like mechanical softness and deformability, and be able to perform spatiotemporal mapping of cardiac conduction characteristics and other physical parameters. However, existing patches constructed from rigid materials with structurally engineered mechanical stretchability still have a hard–soft interface with the epicardium, which can strain cardiac tissue and does not allow for deformation with a beating heart. Alternatively, patches made from intrinsically soft materials lack spatiotemporal mapping or sensing capabilities. Here, we report an epicardial bioelectronic patch that is made from materials matching the mechanical softness of heart tissue and can perform spatiotemporal mapping of electrophysiological activity, as well as strain and temperature sensing. Its capabilities are illustrated on a beating porcine heart. We also show that the patch can provide therapeutic capabilities (electrical pacing and thermal ablation), and that a rubbery mechanoelectrical transducer can harvest energy from heart beats, potentially providing a power source for epicardial devices.

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Fig. 1: Soft rubbery epicardial bioelectronic patch.
Fig. 2: Characteristics of the individual devices on the epicardial bioelectronic patch.
Fig. 3: Validation of the sensing system based on the rubbery transistor.
Fig. 4: Electrophysiological mapping in vivo by the fully rubbery transistor active matrix.
Fig. 5: In vivo validation of the rubbery physical sensors and devices for ablation and harvesting.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Code availability

Custom code used to process the data is available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

C.Y. would like to acknowledge the support by the National Science Foundation CAREER grant (CMMI-1554499), the Office of Naval Research grant (N00014-18-1-2338) under the Young Investigator Program, the National Institutes of Health grant (R21EB026175) and 3M non-tenured faculty award. F.E. acknowledges the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

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C.Y., K.S., F.E., Y.X. and P.Y. conceived and designed the experiments. K.S., Y.Z., H.S., Z.R., Y.L. and A.T. fabricated devices. K.S., F.E., Y.Z., P.Y., H.S. and Z.R. performed the characterization experiments. K.S., F.E., Y.Z., Y.X., P.Y., H.S., Z.R. and A.E. performed the in vivo animal experiments. K.S., F.E., Y.X., H.S. and C.Y. analysed the experimental data. K.S., F.E. and C.Y. wrote the paper. All the authors reviewed and revised the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Cunjiang Yu.

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Sim, K., Ershad, F., Zhang, Y. et al. An epicardial bioelectronic patch made from soft rubbery materials and capable of spatiotemporal mapping of electrophysiological activity. Nat Electron 3, 775–784 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41928-020-00493-6

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