Cardiology: Pacemaker Problems

When nature devised the delicate, low-voltage electrical system that keeps a human heart beating at about 70 times a minute, it did not anticipate interference from doctors' diathermy machines, radio transmitters or neon signs. Thanks to the amazing vitality of natural tissues, there was no possibility of metal fatigue, either, regardless of what else might go wrong. But in some of the artificial pacemakers that have been implanted in the bodies of thousands of heart-disease patients in the past few years, interference and fatigue are proving to be troublesome. Difficulties may show up when the patient is still...

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