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April 17, 1948


Author Affiliations


From the Cardiovascular Department. Michael Reese Hospital This department is supported in part by the Michael Reese Research Foundation

JAMA. 1948;136(16):1028-1034. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890330018006

There is a remarkable similarity in the discovery of the utility of quinidine with that of digitalis in that both were made by laymen. In 1914 one of Wenckebach's1 patients informed him that the quinine which he had prescribed for malaria made his irregular heart action (due to auricular fibrillation) regular. Wenckebach was quick to find that quinine was an effective drug in the treatment of auricular fibrillation. Frey,2 in 1918, established the fact that quinidine. a closely related compound, was more effective for this purpose. This was soon confirmed and extended by many workers, notably by Sir Thomas Lewis.3 However, the early enthusiasm for quinidine soon waned because of a number of unexpected deaths attributed to it. and the pendulum swung back to nearly complete abandonment of the drug. Recently, as experience in its use improved, it has come to play an important role in cardiac