Dr. Morton Mower, Inventor of Lifesaving Heart Device, Died at 89

Morton Mower, a leading cardiologist who helped develop a compact defibrillator that saved many lives by restoring the ability of the heart to beat abnormally with electricity jolt, died April 25 in Denver. It is 89.

His son, Mark, said the cause was leukemia.

Dr. Mower and Dr. Michel Mirowski, a colleague at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, began working in 1969 on a small device that he could implant under the skin of the abdomen and treat tachycardia. they go to danger. awry.

Dr. Mirowski had the idea of ​​making the defibrillator smaller; Dr. Mower, who has taught himself electrical engineering in his basement office, believes he can succeed.

“We are crazy people who want to put the bombing time in people’s hearts,” Dr. Mower said in 2015 in an interview with the medical journal The Lancet, which was recorded at a time when two million people worldwide were overweight. device.

Doctors developed a rapid prototype and formed a partnership in 1972 with Medrad, a medical device manufacturer. But the development of implantable defibrillator has its critics.

Written in Circulation, an American Heart Association journal, Dr. Bernard Lown, who developed the first external power defibrillator, and Dr. Paul Axelrod said patients with ventricular fibrillation were better able to recover from surgery or prevent arrhythmia.

They say, “In fact,” they say, “the compact defibrillator system represents a flawed solution in the search of usable and valid data.”

The work continues. After being tested on animals, battery-powered devices, approximately the size of a cardboard box, began to be implanted in humans at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1980. Five years later, it was approved by of the Food and Drug Administration.

At the time, the FDA claimed that an implantable defibrillator could save 10,000 to 20,000 people a year by allowing people to have their arrhythmia treated faster than waiting to reach an emergency room. , where external defibrillators, along with their paddles, were used.

Dr. Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, president of the American Heart Association, said in a telephone interview that 300,000 devices, now as small as a dollar, were grown annually.

“Letting people walk around with a defibrillator, not in a hospital under constant care, is a real turning point in saving lives from the risk of heart attack,” he said. Dr. Lloyd-Jones said.

He added that another benefit of the device – the so-called automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillator – is that its electricity is transmitted directly to the heart. The external defibrillator jolt must travel through its paddles through the skin and tissues before reaching the heart.

Dr. Mower and Dr. Mirowski was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002, along with Alois Langer, mediator at Medrad, and M. Stephen Heilman, founder of the company.

Morton Maimon Mower was born on January 31, 1933, in Baltimore and grew up in Frederick, about 50 miles west. His father, Robert, was a cobbler, and his mother, Pauline (Maimon) Mower, was a homemaker.

As a child, Morton worked over the summer for his uncle Sam, who owned a bathhouse and toy store in Atlantic City. When his uncle was sick, Morton was pleased that the family treated the doctor when he called home.

“They made him sit; They made him a cup of tea, “Dr. Mower told the Old Testament of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he graduated in 1959, in an interview.” I think, Gee, that This is not a bad thing at all. “

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1955, where he previously held the program, and graduated from medical school, Dr. Mower has completed an internship at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

He became a superintendent at Sinai Hospital in 1962 and then served from 1963 to 1965 in the Army Medical Corps in Bremerhaven, Germany, where he was superintendent of medicine.

In 1966, he started a six-year stint as a researcher in Sinai’s coronary medicine project. He eventually became a physician and cardiologist at the hospital. A house was named for him at his school in 2005.

Dr. Mower became rich by allowing the use of defibrillator technology and using his money to create large art projects that included works by Rembrandt, Picasso and Impressionist masters.

After leaving Sinai in 1989, he worked for two defibrillator manufacturers: Cardiac Pacemakers, an organization of Eli Lilly, vice president, and Guidant, as a consultant. He then taught medicine at Johns Hopkins and most recently at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora.

Dr. Mower recently formed a company, Rocky Mountain Biphasic, seeking to apply for its many patents in areas such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and Covid-19.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife, Toby (Kurland) Mower, a registered nurse; one daughter, Robin Mower; three grandchildren; one brother, Bernard; and one sister, Susan Burke. He lives in Denver.

Dr. Mower’s career in cardiac resuscitation does not end with an implantable defibrillator.

“I know this is an incomplete repair,” he told Lancet, referring to the defibrillator. “It prevents right ventricular afibrillation, but it does nothing to support left ventricular function. People die of heart failure.”

He and Dr. Mirowski developed heart resynchronization therapy, or CRT, which uses implantable devices like a pacemaker to send electricity to the right and left ventricles of the heart in order to force them Promise to be a better, process.

Dr. “The CRT is a slightly bigger upgrade than contract defibrillators,” Mower said. Mower said, “When he started trying to treat patients in the Netherlands,” he could hardly believe that patients would come out of heart failure. “

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