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Rory Childers

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 25 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6729
  1. Ned Stafford, Hamburg
  1. ns{at}

Expert in heart disease and electrocardiography

Rory Childers was born into a distinguished family in Ireland. His father was the country’s fourth president, and his grandfather a famous author and Irish nationalist. But to several generations of medical students during nearly half a century at the University of Chicago, Childers was known as “the ECG guy.”

The nickname came from Childers’s international reputation as an authority on the use and interpretation of electrocardiograms (ECGs). He read an estimated 50 000 ECGs per year and helped pioneer the development of computerised diagnosis of disorders seen on ECG. He was particularly interested in the behaviour of the repolarisation phase of the electrocardiogram, which can provide subtle and overt warnings of impending catastrophe.

Author of nearly 100 papers on electrocardiography, Childers was recruited by the American Heart Association as a core member of international teams assembled to standardise and update the interpretation of ECGs. Work from the project was published in a series of detailed reports in 2007 and 2009.1 2 3 4

The updating and standardisation of electrocardiography was long overdue. Michael Murphy, who first met Childers in …

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