Seymour Furman, MD, FHRS, CCDS

First Use of Transvenous Pacing

Seymour Furman, MD, FHRS, CCDS

Dr. Furman was the first to recognize the usefulness of pacing the heart endocardially, which ultimately led to the development of an entirely new discipline of clinical cardiac electrophysiology. He and John Swedel, MD, threaded plastic-coated wires connected to an electrode through the veins of a patient's heart, eliminating the need for open heart surgery. He also demonstrated its application in patient management and worked with bioengineer Bryan Parker to develop a method to monitor pacemakers over the phone.

Among his contributions were the founding of some of the earliest pacemaker clinics, the demonstration that mercury-zinc cells destroy pacemaker circuitry, and the establishment of a database and statistical analysis of patient and hardware survival.

Dr. Furman was a passionate advocate for the new field of cardiac pacing and electrophysiology. In the late 1970s, he was named editor of Pacing and Cardiac Electrophysiology (PACE). He co-founded the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology (NASPE, now Heart Rhythm Society), established the first credentialing exam for physicians (NASPeXAM, now IBHRE) and started HRS’s oral History project and device collections.

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