Rediscovery of External Heart Compression in Dr. William Kouwenhoven’s Laboratory
This story begins in the Old Hunterian Research Laboratory at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Medical School. A young intern enters through the ancient doors and is greeted by “cracking” sounds. These sounds emanate from the laboratory of Dr. William Kouwenhoven who was studying the effects of electrical current on the body and specifically studying capacitor discharges. The meeting with Dr. Kouwenhoven was brief. He was cordial in explaining his setup and research plan, eager to encourage and stimulate a young intern. Dr. Kouwenhoven was Dean of the School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and worked only part-time in this laboratory under the auspices of Dr. Alfred Blalock, Director of the Department of Surgery. Soon he was to retire and devote his full time to this work which he had begun a quarter of a century earlier with D. R. Hooker and O. R. Langworthy. This was the summer of 1953.
KeywordsVentricular Fibrillation Johns Hopkins Hospital Closed Chest External Cardiac Massage Lower Sternum
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