Tekniska Museet
100 Innovations - Tekniska museet

An exhibition at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Stockholm, 2012 – 2018

The defibrillator

The defibrillator

Ingress för att beskriva innovationen

The defibrillator

A close-up image of a modern defibrillator manufactured by St Jude Medical. Photo: Anna Gerdén.

The defibrillator

One of the latest defibrillator models manufactured by St Jude Medical. This model can be implanted and be operational for several years. Photo: Ellinor Algin.

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The defibrillator

Every year some 10,000 Swedes suffer sudden cardiac arrest. Only 500 survive, often thanks to the defibrillator, a device which can restart a heart by giving it an electric shock. The idea came to the engineers, William B Kouwenhoven and Guy Knickerbocker, in the USA in the 1930s when they discovered that they could revive dogs with the aid of electric shocks.

Doctor, Claude Beck, built the first proper defibrillator for humans more than 60 years ago. It was used directly on the heart and the electrodes consisted of two metal spoons with wooden handles. Nowadays the defibrillator is implanted or used on the outside of the body. There are simple versions in public places for the public to use in emergencies.

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