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Books, Journals, New Media
April 3, 2002

Pacemaker IndustryMachines in Our Hearts: The Cardiac Pacemaker, the Implantable Defibrillator, and American Health Care

Author Affiliations
 

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media

 

Not Available

 

by Kirk Jeffrey, 370 pp, $48, ISBN 0-8018-6579-4, Baltimore, Md, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

JAMA. 2002;287(13):1730-1731. doi:10.1001/jama.287.13.1730-JBK0403-2-1

This is an important book that provides valuable insight into the origins and growth of one of the world's most successful biomedical industries. Kirk Jeffrey is a history professor at Carleton College in Minnesota (where much of the US pacemaker industry is based). He spent a decade reviewing the literature, conducting oral history interviews, and writing this detailed study of the invention and growth of the pacemaker industry.

Jeffrey's research has paid off: he displays a firm grasp of the medical, scientific, technical, and institutional aspects of his subject. Although he focuses on the United States, he acknowledges the many important contributions of European doctors, electronics experts, and corporations. Jeffrey supplements his history of pacemakers with a chapter on the development of the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, a technological innovation that has revolutionized the treatment of tachyarrhythmias.

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