The problem of cardiac arrest is a constant one. Numerous techniques of resuscitation, in instances in which arrest is reversible, have been devised. Since the initial work of Wiggers1 on the application of counter-shock in ventricular fibrillation, there have evolved many successful electrical devices for treatment of this condition. Leeds2 has published a full description of modern high-voltage defibrillators and their applications.
In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to the possibility of resuscitation in instances of cardiac asystole by means of repetitive electrical stimuli. Callaghan and Bigelow3 successfully stimulated dog hearts with monophasic and diphasic thyratron pulses. Electrodes were applied directly to the heart through surgical incision in the thoracic wall or internally by means of an external jugular vein lead. Herrod and others4 also reported on rhythmic thyratron stimulation of the dog heart with the open chest technique. Recently, Zoll5 published reports