Help us continue Dr. Furman’s vision!
The professional life of Seymour Furman, MD, FHRS, was one of intense curiosity, continuous learning and bold innovation. His contributions and volunteer leadership in supporting the mission of the Heart Rhythm Society (which he helped found) ó To improve the care of patients by promoting research, education, and optimal health care policies and standards ó are incalculable. The Heart Rhythm Society and the Heart Rhythm Foundation are dedicated to keeping this legacy alive with the establishment of The Furman Fund, which focuses on preserving the history of cardiac pacing, inspiring clinicians and students to further develop their careers, and educating the clinical and lay community about the field of heart rhythm management and treatment.
In order to continue Dr. Furmanís vision, we need your help. The Heart Rhythm Society is the premier organization focused on research, education, and advocacy efforts concerning the prevention and treatment of cardiac rhythm disorders. Your charitable contribution will aid in advancing the missions of the Heart Rhythm Society and Foundation and preserve and maintain its influential history.
Please give generously and in the spirit of The Furman Fund, as we are the only medical society engaged in preserving the history of the field. We need to know where we came from to help us know where we are going. Questions? Please contact Betsy Bogdansky, Director, Donor Relations at (202) 464-3454 or via e-mail
The specific Objectives of the Fund are to:
- preserve an historic view of cardiac pacing and electrophysiology
- inspire clinicians, student, and patients with the rhythmic wonder of the human
- educate the clinical and lay community about the field of electrophysiology and its innovation and future potential for improving and extending lives of arrhythmia patients
More about Dr. Furman's Legacy
“His [Furman’s] contributions are so numerous that any are now taken for granted and their origin often forgotten.” — Journal of Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology
“...and there’s more coming”— Seymour Furman, MD (April 2, 2002)
Seymour Furman, MD (1931-2006) was a dedicated cardiac surgeon. During 1957-1958 he spent a year in the Montefiore Surgical Research Laboratory and learned the techniques of cardiac catheterization; there he participated in the establishment of the open heart program and devised the technique of transvenous, endocardial right ventricular pacing, initially using a stimulating catheter electrode of his own design. In 1958 endocardial pacing was initially and successfully used for two hours in a patient with complete heart block; a second patient who was paced survived for another three years.
Among Dr. Furman’s scientific contributions:
- Arranged the earliest pacemaker clinics (1958)
- Ascertain strength duration curves of human endocardial stimulation and determined the relation of electrode size stimulation threshold
- Realized the delineation of the sensed characteristics of the endocardial electrogram and discerned the virtual electrode hypothesis of stimulation
- Demonstrated that mercury-zinc cells destroy pacemaker circuitry and that low voltage, abbreviated pulse duration stimulation prolongs pulse generator longevity
- Invented transtelephonic monitoring of pacemaker function
- Established database and statistical analysis of patient and hardware survival and founded a twenty year national registry of pulse generator function between 1974 and 1994 (with Bilitch and Parsonnet)
- Published over 400 manuscripts and book chapters; established and edited the journal Pace and Clinical Electrophysiology (PACE) (1977) and published over 100 editorials, over 800 abstracts and 1000 oral presentations
- Coauthored (with Escher) the first American book on cardiac pacing, “Principles and Techniques of Cardiac Pacing” (1970) and coauthored “A Practice of Cardiac Pacing” (1989) and three successive editions
- Mentored and trained hundreds of cardiac health professionals
Seymour Furman’s contributions to the Heart Rhythm Society:
- Founder of the Society (1979)
- President (1982) of the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology (NASPE) [In 2004 NASPE celebrated its 25th anniversary with the name change to Heart Rhythm Society]
- Creator (1985) and Past President (1985-98) of NASPExAM
- Chair of the History Committee (1995)
- Creator of the Electricity and the Heart Website and Oral History Collection (1995)