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Testimonials for William Kouwenhouen
I would never discount William Kouwenhoven's contribution to the development of the defibrillator, but I think it is remiss to not mention that Paul ZOll MD, published the first close chest defibrillation paper at least a year before Dr K was claimed to have been the first to have developed the defibrillator????? The following is a summary of Dr Zoll's achievement's, as summarized by the Heart Rhythm Society:
Paul M. Zoll was born and educated in Boston MA. He attended Harvard Medical School and trained and practiced at the Boston Beth Israel Hospital for the remainder of his career. During the Second World War he and Dwight Harken described the operative removal of foreign bodies, shrapnel, bullets and other metallic objects from within and about the heart and great vessels. These publications were important for the demonstrated ability to operate on the heart with patient survival, an intervention that had previously been done infrequently and as a singular tour de force. In 1950 a presentation at a meeting of the American College of Surgeons, in Boston, about stimulating the sino-atrial node via a transvenous catheter, inspired Zoll to develop a technique for pacing the heart through the intact chest during asystole. With an epochal publication in 1952 he described cardiac resuscitation via electrodes on the bare chest with 2 ms duration pulses of 100-150 volts across the chest, at 60 stimuli per minute. This initial clinical description launched widespread evaluation of pacing and the recognition by the medical profession and the public that the asystolic heart could be stimulated to beat and was the basis for future clinical pacing developments. This technique eventually fell from favor, except as an emergency, because of associated pain and the limited mobility it allowed the patient. It was later revised using larger skin electrodes and longer pulse durations, both of which made the shocks less painful and therefore more acceptable. In 1955 Zoll described a mechanical technique for "stimulating" the asystolic heart. In 1956 he published a transcutaneous approach to terminate ventricular fibrillation with a much larger shock, of up to 750 volts and later described similar termination of ventricular tachycardia. His use of an alternating current shock began clinical cardioversion-defibrillation, but eventually was replaced by direct current shock, largely for technical reason.
Utility Linemen Electrocution Study Led to CPR!
Introduction by April Ingram
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Johns Hopkins Engineer article (pdf):
Original article by Jude, Kouwenhoven, and Knickerbocker (pdf):
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The Science Behind the Discovery
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