Implantable Cardiac Pacemaker Turns 50

   Greatbatch, Inc. is proud to join the medical community in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first successful implantation of the human cardiac pacemaker in the United States.    The pacemaker was designed, developed and implanted by Wilson Greatbatch in conjunction with William M. Chardack, MD and Andrew A. Gage, MD.    The device, implanted during surgery at Buffalo’s Veteran’s Affairs Hospital, extended the life of a 77- year-old man for 18 months. While there were many other pacemaker concepts being developed simultaneously, the Greatbatch-Chardack pacemaker marks the first successful device implanted into a human.    After inventing the device, Wilson Greatbatch licensed the technology to Earl Bakken, the founder of Medtronic. In 1970, Mr. Greatbatch went on to start his own company to develop long-lived primary batteries to fuel the implantable pacemaker. This company is now Greatbatch, Inc.     “The roots of the innovative culture of our company can be traced to Mr. Greatbatch, who pushed the limits of science to develop the first successful implantable pacemaker,” said Thomas J. Hook, president and CEO, Greatbatch, Inc. “His invention is one that decades later is still used to save and enhance people’s lives.”    More than 100,000 pacemakers are implanted each year. Today’s pacemakers are much smaller and thinner in size than Mr. Greatbatch’s device and offer many advanced features. These types of improvements have been made possible by many device companies including Greatbatch Medical, a Greatbatch, Inc. brand.