Artificial Cardiac Pacemaker - History of Cardiac Pacemaker

Artificial Cardiac Pacemaker

Do you know anyone with a pacemaker? The pacemaker is an artificial device that is implanted in the body and used to send an electrical pulse/current to the heart to make it beat regularly. When someone has a heart that is not working the right way, doctors can use a pacemaker to help the heart beat the way that it is supposed to do.

In 1889, John Alexander Macwilliam reported in the British Medical Journal that he had used electricity to cause a human heart to beat at a rate of 60 to 70 beats per minute. He could keep it beating in a regular patter by applying regularly spaced electric stimuli.

In 1926 Dr. Mark C. Lidwill and Edgar H. Booth made a portal device that caused a heart to beat at 80 to 120 pulses per minute. In 1928 this device was used to revive a stillborn baby. When a baby is stillborn, it means that the baby's heart is not beating when it is born. After 10 minutes of applying the electric stimulus, the baby's heart continued to beat on its own.

In the 1950s, there were several doctors who experimented with external pacemakers that were powered by electrical outlets, or even a car battery! Can you imagine being attached to a machine that keeps your heart beating using a car battery?

Over time, technology has improved, and now many people wear pacemakers-some that don't even need batteries! The pacemaker has been used to keep hearts beating-young and old-for people who would have otherwise died. The pacemaker was a very important invention in medicine.

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