The first heart pacemaker was invented by a Canadian scientist John Hoops in the year 1950. Hoops completed his training as an electrical engineer from the University of Manitoba when he was just 21 and started working with the national research council in 1941. In 1949 Hoops started his research on hypothermia where he worked with radio frequencies to increase the temperature of the body and understood that cooling stopped the working of heart and it could be restarted by artificial stimulation. This discovery led to the invention in 1950 of that of a pacemaker. The first pacemaker was too big to fit in human body internally. It was first tested in 1949 at the University of Toronto’s Department of Surgery on a dog. The earliest form of catheter electrodes used vacuum tubes that were later replaced by transistors. The first implant of pacemaker in human was done in 1958.
Hoops himself became a heart patient and in 1984 he had pacemaker implanted so as to keep his heart regulated but by then it was considered a normal surgery. He got his pacemaker replaced after thirteen years of his first surgery.
Though he retired from his work in 1979 but he continued serving the school children and his writings on biomedical engineering. Hoops also served as the President of Ontario Heart Foundation. He also wrote a book “Passing Pulses, The Pacemaker and Medical Engineering: A Canadian Story”. The father of biomedical engineering died on November 24, 1998.