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December 19, 1966

Demand Pacemakers Implanted

JAMA. 1966;198(12):36. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110250018006

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An implantable version of a portable pacemaker which provides electrical stimulation to the heart only when it is needed has been developed and clinically tested.

Experience with the demand pacemaker, as it is called, is too brief to permit evaluation of its longterm usefulness, but thus far it has performed well, Barouh V. Berkovits, EE, Ing, American Optical Company, Waltham, Mass, told the annual Conference on Engineering in Medicine and Biology.

The first clinical implant was made Aug 2, 1966, at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston, by Dwight Harken, MD, clinical professor of surgery, Harvard Medical School.

The transvenous route was used in the 39-year-old patient who had undergone previous open heart surgery, with correction of a ruptured sinus of Valsalva aneurysm.

Heart block, postoperatively, was treated with a continuous extracorporeal pacemaker. Continued competition called for use of a demand unit. The reliability of the unit had been proved in