Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Microchip Warns of Dangers in Body

WebMD Health News

Jan. 28, 2002 -- Doctors may soon be able to find out important information about your body without laying a hand on you. A tiny microchip -- implanted inside the body -- could help doctors better care for people with life-threatening medical problems such as heart failure.

The microchip -- smaller than a dime -- could be implanted without surgery to monitor blood pressure in people with heart failure. Relatively small changes in blood pressure in these people can mean life or death.

Currently, doctors treating someone with heart failure must go by the person's symptoms or perform an invasive procedure to obtain information about the pressures in the heart, said Jay Yadav, MD, in a news release.

The new technology, called micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS), was presented at a meeting of doctors specialized in treating blood vessel problems.

The MEMS sensor is made of flexible plastic and is paper-thin. No wires are involved, and it's powered by a handheld transmitter/receiver.

"It would be nice to have a test, like a blood pressure test, that the doctor can check every time the patient is in the office, or that the patient could even check himself while at home. We believe the MEMS device could make it much easier to follow a patient with certain health problems," Yadav said. He is director of vascular intervention for the department of cardiovascular medicine at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

In heart failure, the heart is not able to pump blood efficiently. Pressure in the heart increases, and even small jumps can increase symptoms, including shortness of breath and chest pain.

The MEMS sensor was developed by Mark Allen, PhD, for use in jet engines. He is professor of electrical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

To monitor blood pressure in people with heart failure, the microchip can be attached to a catheter. The catheter is then threaded through a vein in the neck and into the right side of the heart, where it is attached.

The MEMS technology could also be used in people with an aneurysm in the abdomen -- a weak, enlarged blood vessel that balloons out and forms a sac. As in the heart, the microchip could monitor pressure inside the aneurysm.

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure