Åke Senning

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Åke Senning
Senning, Elmqvist & Crafoord 1954.jpg
Senning [left], Elmqvist & Crafoord, 1954.
Born14 September 1915
Died21 July 2000
EducationUppsala University
Stockholm University
Known forImplanting the first pacemaker
Senning procedure
Medical career
ProfessionCardiac surgeon
InstitutionsKarolinska Hospital
University Hospital Zurich
Sub-specialtiesCardiovascular surgery

Åke Senning (14 September 1915 — 21 July 2000) was a pioneering Swedish cardiac surgeon, who implanted the first human implantable cardiac pacemaker in 1958, invented the Senning operation, and contributed to many other advances.


Senning was influenced to become a cardiovascular surgeon when during his training, he heard of Clarence Crafoord's operations to repair coarctation of the aorta. He trained under Crafoord from 1948 to 1956 in Sabbatsberg Hospital, where he and the doctor turned engineer Rune Elmqvist developed the first totally implantable pacemaker. From 1956, Senning led the Department of Experimental Surgery at Karolinska Hospital. In 1957 Senning performed the first repair of a common congenital heart malformation called transposition of the great arteries or TGA. The procedure still carries his name, i.e. Senning procedure. He also made history on 8 October 1958 by implanting the first pacemaker. Although this first device lasted only a few hours, it proved the feasibility of the procedure and opened the way to a new field in the area of device therapy. In 1961, Senning became head of the Department of Surgery at the University of Zurich and in 1969 he performed the first heart transplant in Switzerland. He retired in 1985 and died in 2000 at the age of 84.[1]


[1] a biography and interviews from the Heart Rhythm Society

  1. ^ a b Konstantinov, Igor E.; Alexi-Meskishvili, Vladimir V.; Williams, William G.; Freedom, Robert M.; Van Praagh, Richard (2004), "Atrial switch operation: past, present, and future" (PDF), The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 77 (6): 2250–2258, doi:10.1016/j.athoracsur.2003.10.018, PMID 15172322
  2. ^ Cooley, D.A (2000), "In Memoriam: Tribute to Åke Senning, Pioneering Cardiovascular Surgeon", Texas Heart Institute Journal, 27 (3): 234–5, PMC 101071, PMID 11225587