MAR 28, 2018 10:14 AM PDT

Printed Tattoo Electrodes Transmit Human Heart Impulses

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

Diagnostic electrodes for measuring electrical impulses from the heart and muscles are uncomfortable for patients and dry out quickly. So scientists from the Graz University of Technology made a version of the technology that would be easier to work with: printed tattoo electrodes.

Conductive polymers printed on standard decal paper form the tattoo electrodes for long-term monitoring of electrical impulses of heart or muscles. Credit: © Lunghammer - TU Graz

Printed tattoo electrodes make certain long-term medical diagnostics possible. For example, electrodes can transmit data from an electrocardiogram (ECG) or electromyography (EMG) to a computer for analysis.

An ECG is a test measuring the electrical activity of the heart, determining how much of and how long an electrical wave takes to pass through the heart. Is the electrical activity normal, slow, fast, or irregular? Is the heart muscle abnormally enlarged or working too hard?

Francesco Greco with a temporary tattoo electrode. Credit: Lunghammer - TU GrazAn EMG test measures muscle response or electrical activity in response to stimulation of the muscle by the nervous system. Doctors use this test for diagnosing neuromuscular abnormalities. With the new tattoo electrode technology, researchers can take measurements from ECG, EMG, or other diagnostic tests for a longer period of time than with traditional technology.

"We are working on the development of wireless tattoo electrodes with integrated transistor which would make it possible to both send and receive signals,” explained materials scientist Francesco Greco. “Not only could we measure impulses using this method, but we could also stimulate body regions in a targeted way."

Greco and his team made the tattoo electrodes by printing conducting polymers on commercial temporary tattoo paper. It is possible to make electrodes in different sizes and multiple arrangements as well as to adapt each tattoo to a specific place on the body.

The tattoo electrodes are applied to the skin just like you would with a temporary tattoo with a fun picture on it. And if something like the growth of a hair through the tattoo disturbs the electrodes, conductivity of the electrode and signal transmission remains stable, making the technology especially useful for long-term measurements. In their studies, researchers successfully tested the tattoo electrodes for three days. With this diagnostic option, patients getting tested can go about their everyday activities.

"With this method we have managed to take a big step forward in further developing epidermal electronics,” Greco said. “We are on a direct road to making an extremely economical and simple as well as versatile applicable system which has enormous market potential."

The present study was published in the journal Advanced Science.

 

 

Sources: American Heart Association, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Graz University of Technology

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 18, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
NOV 18, 2019
Frequent Marijuana Use Linked with Stroke and Arrhythmia
Research from two new preliminary studies presented at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) annual Scientific Se ...
FEB 10, 2020
Cardiology
FEB 10, 2020
Blocking Problem Protein Shows Promise for Preventing Heart Attacks
Over time, atherosclerosis, a disease that causes fatty plaques to build up in the arteries, limits the flow of oxygen-r ...
FEB 28, 2020
Cardiology
FEB 28, 2020
Diabetes and Heart Problems Linked to Worse Prognosis of COVID-19
According to most recent data on the COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China, those suffering from ...
APR 07, 2020
Cardiology
APR 07, 2020
Heart Attack Doctors Sit Idle Amid Coronavirus Fears
Across the United States, doctors have reported that hospitals are eerily quiet apart from wards housing patients diagno ...
MAY 15, 2020
Cardiology
MAY 15, 2020
Cardiovascular Disease Mortality is Greater in Rural Areas
A wide variation in cardiovascular disease mortality rates has been noted among counties in the United States. Residents ...
MAY 28, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
MAY 28, 2020
Cannabis-Free CBD More Effective than Regular CBD
Commonly known to come from the cannabis plant or hemp, cannabidiol (CBD) can also be found in a range of other plants. ...
Loading Comments...