Pacemakers are a clever little invention, but they’re not actually new – the first pacemaker prototype was invented in 1950 by John Hopps. Since then, the pacemaker has evolved to what we know it today, shrinking to about an inch in length and becoming entirely customized to suit a patient’s specific needs.
The pacemaker saves lives when it’s surgically placed in the chest of patients with abnormal heart rhythms. It controls the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat, stimulating the heart to pump blood.
- Oxygen sensors
We use them widely nowadays, but oxygen sensors for medical use are examples of the smartest and most useful inventions for saving lives in a hospital setting. Medical oxygen sensors can be used for a number of purposes, including for anesthesia monitors and respirators.
Patients with respiratory conditions like COPD can use oxygen sensors to determine their lung health, and new portable sensors enable patients to measure their oxygen levels outside of the hospital environment.
- MRI scanner
There was a time not so long ago when the only way to determine a patient’s internal health would be to physically look beneath the skin. Luckily, doctors and nurses don’t have to be anywhere near as invasive nowadays, thanks to the invention of the MRI scanner.
Using powerful magnets that create a strong, revolving magnetic field, MRI scanners realign hydrogen atoms in a patient’s body, after which radio waves are used to encourage these atoms to produce signals that form the MRI images.
- Insulin pumps
Diabetes is a large-scale issue, with statistics showing that 29.1 million people in the US alone are diagnosed with the condition. It’s incredibly important that diabetics keep their blood sugar levels in a safe range, which prevents complications like heart disease, eyesight degeneration, and kidney failure.
Insulin pumps are technological devices that deliver small, consistent doses of insulin in the same way that a working pancreas would. They help manage blood sugar levels without the need for individual injections, delivering the dose directly through a plastic tube inserted into the skin tissue.
One of the most impressive medical inventions of all time is the heart defibrillator. When a patient’s heart stops and CPR does nothing to revive them, a defibrillator can often be used to re-establish blood flow and quite literally bring a patient back to life.
Defibrillator technology was first discovered in 1899, but consistent improvements have made the defibrillator what it is today, making it possible to regulate heart rhythm without the need for direct contact with the heart.