HISTORY OF PACEMAKERS



The pacemaker is a device used to help people with slow heartbeats to beat faster.Itís perception was seen as early as the late 1800ís when it was found that electrical impulses caused the heart to beat.The inventor of the first pacemaker is still undetermined.Many think it was Dr. Albert Hyman, while others insist it was an Australian duo by the names of Mark Lidwell and Major Edgar Booth.It wasnít until 1950 that the first practical pacemaker was developed.It wasnít internally planted as modern pacemakers are, the device was actually ac powered and had a small electric lead that was implanted in the heart.This design, though fully functional, had its drawbacks due to immobility of the patient and the constant power blackouts that occurred.But in 1957 a fully functional wearable pacemaker was developed by Dr. Rune Elqvist that gave patients the freedom of mobility and ease at mind because of the implementation of a battery.The first pacemaker that was totally implanted into the body was invented in 1960.Also in the 1960ís it was found that the electrical leads could be connected to the heart through veins, which eliminated the need to open the chest cavity and attach the lead to the heart wall.In 1975 the introduction of the lithium-iodide battery prolonged the battery life of a pacemaker from 10-12 months to almost 10+ years.Currently, pacemakers have become so advance that they are like mini-computers.They can keep data of the patients heart beat patterns, be controlled by radio frequency, and even adjust the beat rate according to the personís activity level.In the future, scientists and doctors hope to develop pacemakers with infinitely lasting battery lives and even the ability to learn the patients lifestyle and adjust the heart rate to what it thinks is best.
 

For more detailed information on the history of pacemakers, you can visit these links:

http://www.medtronic.com/brady/patient/pacemaker_history.html

http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/bae/courses/bae465/1995_projects/scho/htmls/history1.html

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