The History of Cardiac Pacemakers and Defibrillators

  • Serge Boveda
  • Stéphane Garrigue
  • Philippe Ritter


Cardiac pacing has hugely and rapidly improved in just over 50 years, thanks to advances in electronics, computing, nanotechnology, and medicine. Engineers and physicians are committed to reproducing, as closely as possible, the physiological cardiac cycle and the mechanical activity of the right and left ventricles. The history of the implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is unique because it relies on the bold project of one man, Mirowski. In 1985, the first implantable cardioverter defibrillator was marketed. This system allowed the ventricle to be paced and provided better detection, which improved the percentage of appropriate shocks. We can imagine that, in the future, progress will continue toward further miniaturization and longevity, but also perhaps the research of new and more compatible biological materials. Research into cardiac pacing and ICDs has been motivated by huge medical and economic issues, and will continue, although we are still amazed by these small but fascinating metal boxes!


Right Ventricle Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator Biventricular Pace Johns Hopkins Hospital 


  1. 1.
    Jeffrey K (1992) The next step in cardiac pacing: the view from 1958. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 15(6):961–967PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bloomfield P, Boon NA (1989) A century of cardiac pacing. BMJ 298(6670):343–344PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Zoll PM (1952) Resuscitation of the heart in ventricular standstill by external electric stimulation. N Engl J Med 247:768–771PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Allen P, Lillehei CW (1957) Use of induced cardiac arrest in open heart surgery. Minnesota Med 40:672–676PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zoll PM, Linenthal AJ, Norman LR et al (1954) Treatment of stokes-adams disease by external electric stimulation of the heart. Circulation 9:482–493PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Lillehei CW, Gott VL, Hodges PC et al (1960) Transistor pacemaker for treatment of complete atrioventricular dissociation. JAMA 172:2006–2010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Furman S, Robinson G (1959) Stimulation of the ventricular endocardial surface in control of complete heart block. Ann Surg 150:841–845PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Elmqvist R, Senning A (1960) An implantable pacemaker for the heart. In: Smyth CN (ed) Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Medical Electronics, 24–27 June 1959, Iliffe & Sons, Paris, London, pp 253–254Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chardack WM, Gage AA, Greatbatch W (1960) A transistorized, self contained implantable pacemaker for the long-term correction of complete heart block. Surgery 48:643–654PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Schneider A, Moser J, Webb THE et al (1970) A new high energy density cell with a lithium anode. In: Proceedings of the US Army Signal Corps Power Sources Conference, Atlantic CityGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nathan DA, Center S, Wu C-Y et al (1963) An implantable synchronous pacemaker for the long term correction of complete heart block. Circulation 27:682–685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Berkovits BV, Castellanos A Jr, Lemberg L (1969) Bifocal demand pacing. Circulation 40 [Suppl III]:44Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Donaldson RM, Rickards AF (1983) Rate responsive pacing using the evoked QT principle. A physiological alternative to atrial synchronous pacemakers. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 6(6):1344–1349PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Shapland JE, MacCarter D, Tockman B, Knudson M (1983) Physiologic benefits of rate responsiveness. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 6(2 Pt 2):329–332PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Burkhoff D, Oikawa RY, Sagawa K (1986) Influence of pacing site on canine left ventricular contraction. Am J Physiol 251:H428–H435PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Grines CL, Bashore TM, Boudoulas H et al (1989) Function abnormalities in isolated left bundle branch block: The effect of interventricular asynchrony. Circulation 79:845–853PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ziao HB, Lee CH, Gibson DG (1991) Effect of left bundle branch block on diastolic function in dilated cardiomyopathy. Br Heart J 66:443–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kerwin WF, Botvinick EH, O’Connell JW et al (2000) Ventricular contraction abnormalities in dilated cardiomyopathy: effect of biventricular pacing to correct interventricular dyssynchrony. J Am Coll Cardiol 35:1221–1227PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lattuca JJ, Cohen TJ, Mower MM (1990) Biventricular pacing to improve cardiac hemodynamics. Clin Rev 38:882AGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Saxon LA, Boehmer JP, Hummels H, et al. (1999) For the VIGOR CHF and VENTAK CHF Investigators. Biventricular pacing in patients with congestive heart failure: two prospective randomized trials. Am J Cardiol 83:120D–123DGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Cazeau S, Ritter P, Bakdach S, Lazarus A, Limousin M, Henao L, Mundler O, Daubert JC, Mugica J (1994) Four chamber pacing in dilated cardiomyopathy. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol 17(11 Pt 2):1974–1979PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Prevost JL, Battelli F (1899) La mort par les décharges électriques. J Physiol 1:1085–1100Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Beck CS, Pritchard WH, Feil HS (1947) Ventricular fibrillation of long duration abolished by electric shock. JAMA 135:985–986CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kouwenhoven WB, Milnor WR (1954) Treatment of ventricular fibrillation using a capacitor discharge. J Appl Physiol 7:253–257PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Zoll PM, Linenthal AJ, Gibson W et al (1956) Termination of ventricular fibrillation in man by externally applied electric countershock. N Engl J Med 254:727–736PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Mirowski M, Reid PR, Mower MM et al (1980) Termination of malignant ventricular arrhythmias with an implanted automatic defibrillator in human beings. N Engl J Med 303:322–332PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Bardy GH, Smith WM, Hood MA et al (2010) An entirely subcutaneous implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. N Engl J Med 363:36–44PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Serge Boveda
    • 1
  • Stéphane Garrigue
    • 2
  • Philippe Ritter
    • 3
  1. 1.Arrhythmia DepartmentClinique PasteurToulouseFrance
  2. 2.Cardiology DepartmentClinique St. AgustinBordeauxFrance
  3. 3.Cardiology DepartmentCHU de Haut-LévêquePessacFrance

Personalised recommendations