Monday, October 18, 2010

The History of the pacemaker

Great review article on the history of the pacemaker by Beck et al. in the Sept 15 issue of American Journal of Cardiology. First conceived, like so many things, on accident when someone installed the wrong resistor in a circuit and noted electrical impulses similar to those of the human heart. Then, using his personal savings, the first device was designed by a man named Greatbach in his garage and first implanted in 1960. The article includes a picture of one of the early devices and ever the rudimentary circuit schematic (which brought flashbacks to my undergraduate physics labs and circuit design, shudder). We have come a very long way with smaller and lighter batteries, better leads (wires), and thankfully plutonium powered pacers never got too popular!

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