Accidental Scientific Discovery and Invention - Heartbeat Prolongation

About the accidental scientific discovery of prolongation of the heartbeat after death, history and information.

ACCIDENTAL SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES

Discovery: Prolongation of heartbeat after death

Discoverer: Dr. Sydney Ringer, Great Britain

Year: 1882

How Discovered: Dr. Ringer, in his experiments at University College Hospital, London, had found that a solution containing pure sodium chloride in the proportion in which it exists in the serum of frog's blood would permit the heart taken from a dead frog to continue beating. But this beating lasted only a short time. Then suddenly one day Ringer was astonished to find the heart of a dead frog beating for several hours. He was understandably puzzled. Reluctantly the truth came out. The laboratory boy confessed that he didn't see the point in wasting all that time making up solutions for Ringer using distilled water, so he used tap water instead. But the tap water fortuitously contained just the right proportion of calcium and potassium ions to make a physiologically balanced solution with pure sodium chloride. Thus was discovered Ringer's solution, an essential reagent in medical and biological research.

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