The last 100 years of medical history have seen some of the most radical breakthroughs in medical equipment technology. A large part of this was due to the exponential boost that medical science got with the advent of computer technology. These devices changed their respective medical fields completely and opened up new door for further development.
1. The Laser Scalpel
Shortly after the first laser was successfully tested in 1960, the field of ophthalmology changed completely. In 1964 the carbon dioxide laser made possible the invention of the first laser scalpel. The precision of the laser scalpel allowed it to be used extensively in the field of ophthalmology and in several different kinds of complex and highly delicate surgeries.
2. The Portable Defibrillator
Now a mainstay of emergency health care, easy to use and almost as common as the first aid kit, the first portable defibrillator was invented in 1960 by Frank Pantridge in Belfast.
3. Ultrasound Machine
The ultrasound machine has a long development history. One of the biggest breakthrough came in 1962 when Joseph Holmes, William Wright, and Ralph Meyerdirk created the first contact B-mode scanner, a prototype that led to the first commercial, portable ultrasound scanner in '63.
4. Balloon Catheter
In 1963, inventor Thomas Fogarty patented the first ever balloon catheter, which soon became the industry standard. It was the first medical device that allowed for continuous draining of the bladder, crucial during surgery.
5. The Jarvik Heart
In 1982, American scientist Robert Jarvik finished designing the first ever permanent artificial heart implant, the Jarvik 7. The device was made to replace the heart temporarily, for patients awaiting transplant.
In 1950, an electrical engineer named John Hopps invented the first cardiac pacemaker. It wasn't until the late 1950s, however that the first implantable pacemaker was created by New York researcher Wilson Greatbatch.
7. The Portable EKG
The first portable electrocardiogram (EKG) was built in 1961 by Frank Sanborn's company, adapted from their original table model.
8. The AbioCor Heart
After the Jarvik heart, the AbioCor has been the most revolutionary advance in artificial heart technology. Created using advanced medical miniaturization technology, the AbioCor has an internal battery that eliminates the need for extra-bodily wires or tubes. The AbioCor was meant to replace the human heart for an extended period of time and not simply between transplants.
9. CT Scanner
U.K. scientist Sir Godfrey Hounsfield invented the first commercially viable CT scanner in 1971. Since then, the CT scanner has remained the most sophisticated medical imaging tool, used screen the human body in order to diagnose or investigate an illness.
10. Fetal Monitor
Professor K. Hammacher and Hewlett-Packard started working on the first non-invasive fetal monitor in the 1960s. Their first commercially viable model came out in 1968. It became a great asset during labor, when it enabled doctors to detect fetal distress.