Complete heart block developed in more than 10% of C. Walton Lillehei's early patients undergoing closure of ventricular septal defects, and hospital mortality was 100% in this group of patients. This problem of early fatality from heart block was completely eliminated with the use of a myocardial electrode in combination with an external plug-in electric stimulator. This method of treatment, suggested by Dr John A. Johnson, a professor of physiology at the University of Minnesota, was first used by Dr Lillehei on January 30, 1957. The next 3 years would witness the development of a portable, external, battery-powered pacemaker, and then an implantable pacemaker available for thousands of patients susceptible to lethal Stokes-Adams attacks. Fifty years have passed, and in 2005, approximately 800,000 pacemakers were implanted worldwide.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine