(1860 - 1927)
Dutch physiologist who was awarded the 1924 Nobel Prize for Physiology
or Medicine for his discovery of the electrical properties of the heart
through the electrocardiograph, which he developed as a practical clinical
instrument and an important tool in the diagnosis of heart disease.
Einthoven was graduated in medicine from the University of Utrecht and
served as professor of physiology at the University of Leiden from 1886
until his death. In 1903 he devised the first string galvanometer, known
as the Einthoven galvanometer; with this instrument he was able to measure
the changes of electrical potential caused by contractions of the heart
muscle and to record them graphically. He coined the term electrocardiogram
for this process. Einthoven recognized differences in the records or
tracings obtained from different kinds of heart disease. From 1908 to
1913 he studied the patterns of records of normal heart activity in
order to gain precision in recognizing and interpreting deviations.
Einthoven continued to develop electrode arrangements, and the present-day
standard limb leads were originally described and used by him.