50th anniversary of the coronary care unit (CCU) concept

W. Bruce Fye in an article in today’s Circulation is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the coronary care unit (CCU) concept [Resuscitating a Circulation Abstract to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Coronary Care Unit Concept. Circulation. 2011; 124: 1886-1893]. Morris Wilburne from Los Angeles published the first description of the coronary care unit (CCU) concept in North America in Circulation in October 1961. Coronary care units were dedicated intensive care areas where continuous ECG monitoring alerted the nursing staff of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. Ventricular fibrillation which was invariably fatal otherwise, was promptly detected and treated by defibrillation, saving valuable lives. Techniques of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the availability of defibrillators and pacemakers were the main live saving aspects of the coronary care units.

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