Trails of discovery: Unbreak my heart: A short history of the defibrillator and CPR

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


How could the same force that has been used to execute criminals be applied to reboot a heart that has collapsed into a quivering muscle incapable of pumping blood? Electricity can stop or start a heart - it can take or give life - and harnessing its power has not been trivial. The heart defibrillator, along with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, has been used in concert to save countless lives since their invention just over half a century ago. However, as with any leap forward, there is a fascinating backstory. The road to these life-saving techniques is paved with serendipity and rebellion, and it begins with the haunting observation that an electric current appeared to rean-imate the muscles in a dead frog's leg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-221
Number of pages5
JournalDialogues in Cardiovascular Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016



  • Arrhythmia
  • Cardiology
  • CPR
  • Medical history
  • Ventricular fibrillation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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