American Heart Association Research Milestones – 1950’s
1950s Research Milestones
1956: Dr. Ancel Keys, supported by funding from the Minnesota Affiliate, first links dietary fat with cholesterol. This discovery spurs the AHA to assume a leading role in urging Americans to change their eating habits.
Dr. Paul Zoll, aided by the Massachusetts Affiliate, publishes the first report of the successful ending of ventricular fibrillation in humans by externally applied countershock.
1957: Dr. William Wierich, assisted by support from the Minnesota Affiliate and joined by Drs. Vincent Gott and Walter Lillehei, implants the first externally powered pacemaker in a patient with a surgical heart blockage.
Dr. Edward Freis, funded by the Nation's Capital Affiliate and the National Center, determines that cholorothiazide, taken alone or with other anti-hypertensive drugs, is effective in reducing blood pressure.
1958: Dr. Lewis Sapirstein, supported by the AHA Central Ohio Heart Chapter, uses radioactive potassium and rubidium to measure regional blood flow. This helps advance knowledge of blood flow throughout the entire circulatory system.
Dr. Louis Katz determines the relationship between the oxygen demands of the myocardium and coronary blood flow, increasing the understanding of the pain of coronary insufficiency. He received national research program support.