The electrocardiogram (ECG) is a graphic representation of the depolarization of the heart. The physiology of depolarization of the heart is described in Chapter 5, and the particular pathways for conduction of the wave of depolarization are shown in Fig. 11-3. The ECG has undergone tremendous development and use since it was first applied to humans in 1887 by Augustus D. Waller.1 A brief history of the ECG is presented in Table 11-1.1–6
Table 11-1 History of the Electrocardiogram |Favorite Table|Download (.pdf)
Table 11-1 History of the Electrocardiogram
First to find that an electric current accompanies each heart beat
First to find that an “action potential” accompanies muscular contraction
Invented a capillary electrometer (a thin glass tube with a mercury column beneath sulfuric acid—mercury was observed to move with an action potential)
E. J. Marey
First to record a frog's electrical activity using a capillary electrometer
John Burden Sanderson Frederick Page
First to describe that the heart's electrical activity consists of two phases, which later were labeled as the QRS and T waves
Augustus D. Waller
Published the first human ECG
Devised a mathematical correction for the sluggish fluctuations of the electrometer
Improved the electrometer and identified three Edward Starling phases of the heart's electrical activity, which were later called the P, QRS, and T waves
Introduced the term electrocardiogram
Improved the electrometer and identified five distinct deflections, which he names P, Q, R, S, and T waves
Developed an amplification system called a string galvanometer
Modified the string galvanometer to produce ECGs
Began transmitting ECGs via telephone cable from the hospital to his laboratory approximately 1.5 km awaya
Published the first report on normal and abnormal ECGs2
Published the first American review of electrocardiography and also transmitted ECGs from one Horatio Williams location to another3a
Published the first report on an equilateral triangle formed by his standard limb leads (I, II, and III), which was later called Einthoven's triangle4
Published the first ECG of an acute myocardial infarction5
Wins the Nobel Prize for inventing the electrocardiograph
A.C. Ernstine and S.A. Levine
First to use vacuum tubes to apply the ECG, rather than the string galvanometer
Developed the frst portable ECG machine weighing 50 lb
Charles Wolferth and Francis Wood
First to introduce and describe chest leads (V1 through V6)
American Heart Association and Canadian General Standards Board
Published ECG standards6
First to introduce and describe augmented limb leads (aVR, aVL, aVF), which together with Einthoven's three limb leads ...
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