o The Frog Blog: The First Pace Maker

Friday, 30 January 2009

The First Pace Maker

Today in 1957, an external artificial pacemaker with internal heart electrode was first used. To maintain a patient's heartbeat rhythm, an electrode was sewn to the wall of the heart and connected through the chest to an external desk-top pulse generator. A team of scientists at the University of Minnesota, led by Dr C. Walton Lillehei, made this medical advance. However, such bulky equipment was not a good long-term solution since infection often occurred along the electrode wires, and the device required no interruption in the house electricity. So Dr. Lillehei also initiated research on the use of a small portable external pacemaker for these patients with heart block. This ultimately led to the development of the billion-dollar pacemaker industry.
The picture above shows a pacemaker as seen on an X-Ray and to the right, a diagram outlining how pacemakers are fitted to a patient.

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