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The Electrocardiograph and the Birth of Cardiology 

The Electrocardiograph and the Birth of Cardiology
The Electrocardiograph and the Birth of Cardiology

W. Bruce Fye

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date: 06 May 2021

The electrocardiograph, invented in Holland in 1902, was introduced into medical practice in the United States seven years later. The technology, which produced a tracing of the heart’s electrical activity, stimulated the development of cardiology as a specialty around World War I. The Mayo Clinic acquired an electrocardiograph in 1914. Fredrick Willius was a medical fellow when he was assigned to use it. Willius, who would become Mayo’s first cardiologist, used the technology to help evaluate patients and to conduct clinical research. Patient care was influenced by contemporary concepts of disease, such as the focal infection theory, and by an ever-expanding array of diagnostic tests that complemented history-taking and physical examinations. Willius participated in the establishment of the American Heart Association and played a leading role in organizing Minnesota’s first generation of heart specialists during the 1920s.

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