The Pace­maker

Australian T3 - - TABLET -

Crude as it was, credit for the first ar­ti­fi­cial pace­maker goes to Dr Mark C Lid­will, an anaes­the­si­ol­o­gist at Royal Prince Al­fred Hospi­tal, and Edgar Booth, a physi­cist from Syd­ney Univer­sity.

In 1926, the pair de­signed a por­ta­ble and user-friendly de­vice that plugged into a light­ing point and con­sisted of two poles. Ac­cord­ing to Syd­ney Univer­sity, one pole was ap­plied to a skin pad soaked with strong salt so­lu­tion. The other pole con­sisted of a nee­dle in­su­lated ex­cept at its point that was plunged into the ap­pro­pri­ate car­diac cham­ber. Ouch. The pace­maker rate was vari­able be­tween 80 and 120 pulses per minute, with volt­age vary­ing from 1.5 to 120 volts.

While it sounds night­mar­ish by to­day’s stan­dards, it was re­port­edly used for 10 min­utes on a still­born in­fant in 1928, prompt­ing a re­cov­ery.

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