It was 1960. John F. Kennedy was running for president. Xerox introduced the first paper copy machine. Khrushchev pounded his shoe at the United Nations. And across the country, coronary artery disease had reached epidemic levels. Many men in their 50s and 60s were heart attacks waiting to happen. They smoked, didn’t exercise and ate lots of red meat and foods high in saturated fats. (If you weren’t around then, think “Mad Men.”) Many had uncontrolled high blood pressure. Cholesterol-lowering statins had not yet arrived on the scene.
So it was fortuitous, and a bit ironic, that the year coronary artery disease peaked also marked the birth of modern CPR.