WILLIAM B. KOUWENHOVEN, M.D.
I was fortunate in 1928 in being chosen a member of a team to study the effects of electric shocks on human beings. In 1930 we were asked to investigate the statement of Prevost and Battelli (1) that they had been able to defibrillate the ventricular fibrillating dog's heart by applying an electric countershock directly to the myocardium. They had used direct cardiac massage to circulate oxygenated blood. We confirmed their statement and developed an open-chest defibrillator. Their method became a standard operating room procedure in fibrillation cases.
We also found that the human heart could be defibrillated by placing the electrodes on the surface of the chest and applying increased electric energy. This procedure eliminated the need for thoracotomy.
We continued our studies and have developed the Hopkins AC, monophasic and diphasic DC capacitor-type defibrillators, and external cardiac massage.
Learn more about subscription options.
Register Now for a free account.
KOUWENHOVEN WB. The Development of the Defibrillator. Ann Intern Med. 1969;71:449–458. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-71-3-449
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 1969;71(3):449-458.
Cardiology, Rhythm Disorders and Devices.
Results provided by:
Copyright © 2017 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only