London: A tiny microchip not much bigger than a grain of rice could monitor the heart round the clock and save lives.
The chip has been designed to pick up the early warning signs of heart failure, a condition that affects almost one million Britons.
The chip works by measuring the heart`s function - including blood pressure - up to 200 times a second.
When a doctor places a hand-held receiver next to the patient`s ribcage, the tiny sensor instantly transmits its findings, reports the Daily Mail.
The problem with current techniques is that they provide only a brief snapshot of what`s going on in the heart, rather than measuring its performance over days or weeks, which can be a more accurate indicator.
If problems can be detected early, it is possible to reduce the damage and improve heart function with drugs and surgery.
The chip can be left in place for several months - it is inserted via a tiny tube fed into the heart.