Pitkin Tiltometer

WLMD ID: akio, akip
In 1927, Dr. George P. Pitkin introduced his technique for "controllable" spinal anesthesia. He reported that some complications of spinal anesthesia, particularly a rapid drop in blood pressure, could be avoided by careful control over the patient's position on the operating table. He advocated use of the Trendelenburg position, in which the table is tilted so that the patient's head is somewhat lower than his heels. In 1929, Dr. Pitkin introduced his "tiltometer" to accurately gauge the degree of this change in position.

Catalog Record: Pitkin Tiltometer

Catalog records for akio and akip.

Access Key: akio
Accession No.: 2013-01-21-2

Title: [Pitkin Tiltometer / designed by George P. Pitkin.]

Author: Pitkin, George Philo, 1885-1943.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Tiltometer.

Publisher: [Place of manufacture not indicated] : [Manufacturer not indicated], [1930-1970].

Physical Descript: 1 tiltometer ; metal ; 11 x 8.5 x 4.5 cm.

Subject: Anesthesia, Spinal – instrumentation.
Subject: Anesthesia, Conduction – instrumentation.
Subject: Anesthesia, Regional – instrumentation.
Subject: Pitkin, George Philo, 1885-1943.

Note Type: General
Notes: Title based on eponymous name for such an object. There are other kinds of
tiltometers for various scientific and medical purposes.

Note Type: General
Notes: Broad date range for possible year of manufacture is based on the dates of
publications which the tiltometer as an item of current use. The date range
could change if documentation indicates the range should be corrected.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Maxson LH. Introduction. Spinal Anesthesia. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott;
1938:ix-x.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Pitkin GP. Controllable spinal anesthesia. Am J Surg. 1928;5(6):537-553.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Pitkin GP. Controllable spinal anesthesia with spinocaine. Anesth Analg.
1929;8(2):78-90.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Rosenberg H, Axelrod JK. Two surgeons who popularized spinal anesthesia. Reg
Anesth Pain Med. 2001;26(3):278-282.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: Two pieces of metal, one is rectangular and the other is the shape of half of
a circle; The rectangular piece has two holes for attaching to surgical bed;
The hinge allows the half-circle to hang on the side of the bed; Attached to
the upper center of the half circle is a pendulum that moves as the bed is
tilted; It can measure from 0 to 90 degrees in both directions (Trendelenburg
and reverse Trendelenburg); The half-circle is marked in ten degrees
increments; The numbered marks are 0, 30, 60 and 90 in both directions; This
tiltometer is in very good condition with few scratches or signs of wear;
There are not manufacturer marks other than the graduation.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. Steve Donisch on January 16, 2013.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: The Pitkin tiltometer is a device used to measure the degree to which an
operating table, and thus the patient, is tilted. This is indicated by the
pendulum’s location along graduation marks on the tiltometer.

This type of tiltometer was designed by surgeon George P. Pitkin (1885-1943)
around 1927 as part of a method of spinal anesthesia that he called
“Controllable Spinal Anesthesia.” Spinal anesthesia involves the injection of
local anesthetics around the spine to quickly block pain in large regions of
the body. Along with the location of the injection, Dr. Pitkin recommended a
local anesthetic with specific qualities, and specific adjustments to the
patient’s position in order to control where the anesthetic spread to and
took effect along the spine.

Dr. Pitkin is credited by many experts for reigniting widespread interest in
spinal anesthesia at a time when the majority of American surgeons wanted
nothing to do with it. Other components developed by Dr. Pitkin and
colleagues as part of his technique included syringes, a very fine needle,
and a specific formula of local anesthetic called “Spinocain”.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Gosse NH. Spinocaine in spinal anaesthesia. Can Med Assoc J. 1929;20(1):29-31

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Pitkin GP. Controllable spinal anesthesia. J Med Soc New Jersey. July,
1927;24:425-438.

Note Type: Exhibition
Notes: Chosen for the WLM website (noted July 30, 2013). Displayed on the same
webpage as another tiltometer (Sydplus key akip).

Access Key: akip
Accession No.: 286

Title: Pitkin Tiltometer / [designed by George P. Pitkin.]

Author: Pitkin, George Philo, 1885-1943.

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: Tiltometer.

Publisher: New York City : Hospital Import Corp, [1927-1940].

Physical Descript: 1 tiltometer ; metal : 27 x 15.5 x 16.5 cm.

Subject: Anesthesia, Spinal – instrumentation.
Subject: Anesthesia, Regional – instrumentation.
Subject: Anesthesia, Conduction – instrumentation.
Subject: Pitkin, George Philo, 1885-1943.

Note Type: General
Notes: The early year in the date range for the possible year of manufacture is
based on the year that Dr. Pitkin first published an article about his method
of spinal anesthesia. The date range could change if documentation indicates
the range should be corrected.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Maxson LH. Introduction. Spinal Anesthesia. Philadelphia: JB Lippincott;
1938:ix-x.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Pitkin GP. Controllable spinal anesthesia. Am J Surg. 1928;5(6):537-553.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Pitkin GP. Controllable spinal anesthesia with spinocaine. Anesth Analg.
1929;8(2):78-90.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Rosenberg H, Axelrod JK. Two surgeons who popularized spinal anesthesia. Reg
Anesth Pain Med. 2001;26(3):278-282.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: Two pieces of metal, one is the shape of a square and the other is the shape
of half of a circle extended on the flat end by a rectangle; The hinge allows
the half-circle to hang on the side of the bed; Attached to the upper center
of the half circle is a pendulum that moves as the bed is tilted; It can
measure from 0 to 90 degrees in both directions (Trendelenburg and reverse
Trendelenburg); The half-circle is marked in increments as small as 2.5
degrees; Then in increments of 5, 15, and 30; The increments that are
numbered include 15, 30, 45, 60 and 75 in both directions; This tiltometer is
oxidized and shows signs of wear including scratches and dents; Manufacturer
marks include, “HOSPITAL IMPORT CORP [new line] NEW YORK CITY” and “PITKIN
TILTOMETER [new line] PATENTS PENDING”.

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. Steve Donisch on January 16, 2013.

Note Type: Historical
Notes: The Pitkin tiltometer is a device used to measure the degree to which an
operating table, and thus the patient, is tilted. This is indicated by the
pendulum’s location along graduation marks on the tiltometer.

This type of tiltometer was designed by surgeon George P. Pitkin (1885-1943)
around 1927 as part of a method of spinal anesthesia that he called
“Controllable Spinal Anesthesia.” Spinal anesthesia involves the injection of
local anesthetics around the spine to quickly block pain in large regions of
the body. Along with the location of the injection, Dr. Pitkin recommended a
local anesthetic with specific qualities, and specific adjustments to the
patient’s position in order to control where the anesthetic spread to and
took effect along the spine.

Dr. Pitkin is credited by many experts for reigniting widespread interest in
spinal anesthesia at a time when the majority of American surgeons wanted
nothing to do with it. Other components developed by Dr. Pitkin and
colleagues as part of his technique included syringes, a very fine needle,
and a specific formula of local anesthetic called “Spinocain”.

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Gosse NH. Spinocaine in spinal anaesthesia. Can Med Assoc J. 1929;20(1):29-31

Note Type: Publication
Notes: Pitkin GP. Controllable spinal anesthesia. J Med Soc New Jersey. July,
1927;24:425-438.

Note Type: Exhibition
Notes: Chosen for the WLM website (noted July 30, 2013). Displayed on the same
webpage as another tiltometer (SydneyPlus key akio).