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April 20, 1964

AC and DC Countershock for Arrhythmias

JAMA. 1964;188(3):327. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060290131049

To the Editor:—  In the Jan 4, 1964, issue of The Journal (187:60) Kong and Proudfit reported the external application of 140 direct-current countershocks for recurrent ventricular fibrillation in a patient whose heart showed no resulting damage. External alternating-current countershock, which has been in clinical use since 1955,1 was also shown early to be safe in this regard. We applied from 21 to over 300 alternating-current countershocks for the termination of ventricular fibrillation or tachycardia in four patients whose hearts subsequently showed no resulting damage.2DC countershock is said to be more effective in terminating arrhythmias and to have smaller risks of producing ventricular fibrillation. Our conclusions are not in accord with these views. On the basis of our clinical experience over a period of nine years with many hundreds of countershock terminations of ventricular fibrillation and of over 200 terminations of other arrhythmias, we can say

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