Medtronic was founded in 1949 in northeastern Minneapolis by Earl Bakken and his brother-in-law, Palmer Hermundslie, as a medical equipment repair shop.
Through his repair business, Bakken came to know C. Walton Lillehei, a doctor of heart surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School. The deficiencies of the pacemakers of the day were made painfully obvious following a power outage over Halloween in 1957, which affected large sections of Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A pacemaker-dependent paediatric patient of Lillehei died because of the blackout. The next day, Lillehei spoke with Bakken about developing some form of battery-powered pacemaker. Bakken modified a design for a transistorised metronome and created the first battery-powered external artificial pacemaker.
The company expanded through the 1950s, mostly selling equipment built by other companies but also developing some custom-made devices. Bakken built a small pacemaker that could be strapped to the body and powered by batteries. Work in the new field later produced an implantable pacemaker in 1960. The company built headquarters in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Anthony, Minnesota, in 1960 and the company moved to Fridley in the 1970s. Medtronic’s main competitors in the cardiac rhythm field include Boston Scientific and St. Jude Medical. In 1998, Medtronic acquired Physio-Control for $538 million.
- Medtronic Treatment