A world-renowned surgeon and an imaginative scientist
Dr. Wilfred Gordon Bigelow's key discovery was recognizing how to lower the body's oxygen requirements while lowering the body's core temperature to a point at which safe open heart surgery was possible. Soon after, Bigelow made history again. During an experimental surgery, Drs. Bigelow and John C. Callaghan ran into an unexpected situation; the dog’s heart suddenly stopped beating. The heart was normal in all respects, and in desperation, Dr. Bigelow “gave it a good poke”. The heart contracted, and with repeated pokes simulated regular heart beats, they obtained a blood pressure reading. Electrical impulses given to the sinoatrial node had the same result – they had just found the makings of an artificial cardiac pacemaker.