My hubby was scheduled for a check up today at the Cardiovascular clinic located at 16 Mile and Schoenherr. I’ve noticed inside the clinic there’s an old machine in the corner of the wall. It caught my attention because it’s antique. I walked closer to that machine and read the description. I was surprise that it’s the original electrocardiogram that was used way back 19th century. There’s a photo above it that hangs on the wall. A man sitting and facing the machine, it was Willem Einthoven, he was a Dutch doctor and physiologist. He invented the first electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) in 1903 and received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1924 for it. It’s amazing, I didn’t know that. This man was a genius and gifted. He helped medical profession worldwide to determine the heart condition of a person. I can’t believe that I saw and touched the machine that he invented. I must be lucky! Now I am interested in knowing about this man and his invention so I did a researched on him.


Born : May 21, 1860, Semarang
Died : September 29, 1927, Leiden, Netherlands
Nationality : Netherlands
Fields : Physiology
Known for Electrocardiogram

"An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG, abbreviated from the German Elektrokardiogramm) is a noninvasive transthoracic graphic produced by an electrocardiograph, which records the
electrical activity of the heart over time. Its name is made of different parts: electro, because it is related to electrical activity, cardio, Greek for heart, gram, a Greek root meaning "to write". In the US, the abbreviation "EKG" is often preferred over "ECG", while "ECG" is used universally in the UK and many other countries. It is preferred as "EKG" in the US because doctor's handwriting of "ECG" can often be confused as "EEG" when transcribing orders or with echocardiography which is also abbreviated "ECG"."

“Before Einthoven's time, it was known that the beating of the heart produced electrical currents, but the instruments of the time could not accurately measure this phenomenon without placing electrodes directly on the heart. Beginning in 1901, Einthoven completed a series of prototypes of a
string galvanometer. This device used a very thin filament of conductive wire passing between very strong electromagnets. When a current passed through the filament, the electromagnetic field would cause the string to move. A light shining on the string would cast a shadow on a moving roll of photographic paper, thus forming a continuous curve showing the movement of the string. The original machine required water cooling for the powerful electromagnets, required 5 people to operate it and weighed some 600 lbs. This device increased the sensitivity of the standard galvanometer so that the electrical activity of the heart could be measured despite the insulation of flesh and bones. An early ECG device, although later technological advances brought about better and more portable EKG devices, much of the terminology used in describing an EKG originated with Einthoven. His assignment of the letters P, Q, R, S and T to the various deflections is still used. The term "Einthoven's triangle" is named for him. It refers to the imaginary inverted equilateral triangle centered on the chest and the points being the standard leads on the arms and leg. After his development of the string galvanometer, Einthoven went on to describe the electrocardiographic features of a number of cardiovascular disorders. Later in life, Einthoven turned his attention to the study of acoustics.”

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