Mackenzie, Sir James

Mackenzie, Sir James
SUBJECT AREA: Medical technology
b. 12 April 1853 Scone, Perthshire, Scotland
d. 26 January 1925 London, England
Scottish physician and clinical researcher, inventor of the "polygraph" for the investigation of normal and abnormal cardiac rhythms.
Mackenzie graduated in medicine from Edinburgh University in 1878. The next year he moved to a practice in Burnley, Lancashire, where he began the exhaustive clinical studies into irregularities of cardiac rhythm that he was to continue for the rest of his life. In 1907 he moved to London and in 1913 was appointed physician to the London Hospital.
It was while engaged in the heavy industrial practice in Burnley that he developed, with the aid of a Lancashire watchmaker, the "polygraph" apparatus, which by recording vascular pulses permitted analysis of cardiac function and performance. He also investigated herpes zoster (shingles) and was a pioneer in the treatment of heart disease with digitalis. He himself suffered from angina pectoris for the last fifteen years of his life and his views on the condition were published in a book in 1923. When shown the electrocardiogram (ECG) machine of Einthoven, he expressed reservations as to its future utility.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Knighted 1915. FRS 1915.
1902, The Study of the Pulse, Edinburgh. 1908, Diseases of the Heart, London. 1925, Heart, London.
Further Reading
M.Wilson, 1926, The Beloved Physician: Sir James Mackenzie.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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