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Comment & Response
July 23/30, 2014

Early Descriptions of Closed-Chest Cardiac Massage

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Emergency Critical Care, University of Florida College of Medicine, Jacksonville
JAMA. 2014;312(4):437-438. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.7557

To the Editor In their recent Viewpoint, Dr Eisenberg and colleagues1 stated that “closed-chest cardiac massage for the treatment of cardiac arrest was first described in the medical literature in 1960.” There had been descriptions of closed-chest cardiac massage as well as cases of its application among human patients published more than 50 years prior to that date. The first accurate description of external cardiac compressions by sternal compression for resuscitation of cardiac arrest was by Hill in 1868: “The surgeon’s left hand was placed firmly across the front of the chest, the fingers resting over the fifth, sixth, and seventh cartilages on the right side, while the tip of the thumb lay on the second piece of the sternum and the muscular part of the hand on the corresponding cartilages on the left side. The right hand now crossed over the left and forcible pressure made; the hands then being suddenly removed, the chest was allowed to expand by its own elasticity.”2

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