Ventricular fibrillation was described by Ludwig and Hoffa in 1849,1 and evidence was offered at the beginning of our current century that successful defibrillation could be achieved chemically or electrically.2
The production of cardiac asystole following the coronary perfusion of potassium ions and the reconstitution of a normal vigorous rhythm with calcium has been well described in both normothermic and hypothermic preparations.2-4 There has been a lack of universal acceptance of this method of defibrillation among cardiac surgeons, largely because ventricular fibrillation tends to recur following the coronary perfusion of calcium.
Electrical shock, conversely, enjoys considerable popularity as the means of reverting ventricular fibrillation to a normal sinus rhythm. The precise manner of application has undergone constant constructive revision.
Our own specific interest in this subject evolved from recent attempts to prevent ventricular fibrillation during open cardiotomy with use of hypothermia. In these studies it became evident
KORTZ AB, SWAN H. Electrical Ventricular Defibrillation: The Relationship Between Epicardial Burns and Late Mortality. AMA Arch Surg. 1957;74(6):911–917. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/archsurg.1957.01280120089010
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