Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cardiac Surgery in the Adult, 3rd Edition

Heart surgery, as we know it today did not exist when I graduated from medical school in 1944. During the last half of the twentieth century, however, cardiovascular surgery emerged as an important therapeutic discipline, and I am fortunate to have participated in the excitement of the specialty’s formative years.

Probably the most stimulating advance in the treatment of congenital heart disease occurred in 1944, when Alfred Blalock and Helen Taussig introduced their technique of systemic-to-pulmonary artery shunting for tetralogy of Fallot. The success of the “blue-baby” operation was so dramatic and promising that cardiac surgery began to grow at a frenzied pace. The early operative procedures for congenital anomalies, including the blue-baby operation, proved that the circulatory system could be altered to improve blood flow and cardiopulmonary function.

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