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Medical News
May 18, 1964

Stop-Gap Measure Developed For Faltering Cardiac Pacemaker

JAMA. 1964;188(7):30-31. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060330092046

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A research team at Walter Reed General Hospital, Washington, DC, has succeeded in restoring myocardial response to a partially exhausted cardiac pacemaker in a patient with complete heart block.

In a paper prepared for presentation at the national meeting of the American Federation for Clinical Research in Atlantic City, NJ, the team reported that it was possible to increase myocardial responsiveness with small doses of potassium salts administered orally or intravenously.

The team, whose members are Weldon J. Walker, MD, John T. Elkins, Jr., MD, and Laurence W. Wood, MD, believe their findings answer a need that has been felt for a stop-gap measure between the time an implanted pacemaker falters and the time that a new one can be implanted.

Walker, who is chief of the cardiology department at Walter Reed Hospital, told The Journal that there are many patients with ventricular pacemakers who may develop a subthreshold stimulus

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