The Early History of AED Technology

September 4, 2013

The scientific history of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) has led to many innovative designs in the modern day, such as the AccessAED from Access CardioSystems. Dr. Peter Christian Abildgaard, a Danish veterinarian and physician, first discovered the life-saving abilities of defibrillation in 1775. In his experiment, chickens were put into cardiac arrest and then brought back to life with shocks across the chest. What Dr. Abildgaard had induced was not scientifically defined until 1849, when German scientist Dr. Carl Ludwig and his student, Mortiz Hoffa, discovered electrical stimulus-induced ventricular fibrillation. Dr. Ludwig’s articulation of the phenomenon inspired other scientists to conduct additional experiments.

The next major discovery occurred in 1900. University of Geneva scientists Dr. Jean Louis Pevost and Dr. Frederic Batelli researched the impact varying strengths of electrical current had on the heart. The two found that a weak alternating current or direct current of electricity could put a heart into dangerous fibrillation, but a much stronger current was needed to revive the heart. This was a significant finding in the development of AED technology, one which inspired large investments and additional experimentation. Modern AED companies, such as Access CardioSystems, have benefited from early experimenters in electricity and cardiology.

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