Samuel W. Hunter
Biography of Samuel W. Hunter
After a residency in the mid 1950s, Samuel W. Hunter joined the staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul. He later returned to the University of Minnesota the do a fellowship with Clarence Walton Lillehei and began animal studies in open-heart procedures.
At this time, pacemakers had been in use for two years, but the electrode was not satisfactory. Hunter, at St. Joseph's Hospital research laboratory in St. Paul, therefore began collaborating with Norman Roth, an electrical engineer at Medtronic. They designed a plastic patch with two imbedded needle-like electrodes, which was sutured to the heart. Concentrating the electrical field where it was needed, the pacemaker required about 70 percent less current to effectively stimulate the heart muscle to contract than the previous pacemaker system. The "Hunter-Roth" electrode was first used in April 1959 in a patient, Warren Mauston, who recovered and lived an additional and active seven years.