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The Early History of Cardiac Surgery in Stockholm

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Cardiac surgery in Stockholm grew on a sound foundation of well-developed general thoracic surgery. The portal figure is Clarence Crafoord (1899–1983) who already in 1927 had succeeded with the Trendelenburg pulmonary embolectomy operation. He went on to develop lung surgery in general. With foresight he stimulated the chemists of Karolinska Institute to purify heparin, first for prophylaxis against venous thromboembolism and later for use with the heart-lung machine. In 1944 he became the first surgeon to successfully operate on patients with coarctation of the aorta. With Viking Olov Bjork and Ake Senning the heart-lung machine was improved, finally allowing its clinical use in a patient operated in 1954 for a myxoma of the left atrium, with long-term survival. This was the first successful use of the heart-lung machine in Sweden and the second in the world. He and his coworkers, first at the Sabbatsberg hospital and from 1957 at the Karolinska hospital made major contributions to cardiology and radiology, apart from the progresses in cardiac surgery. Contributions such as pressure recording from the left atrium by needle puncture in 1950, the Senning operation for transposition of the great arteries and the first use of a totally implantable cardiac pacemaker in 1958 are indeed medical history. (J Card Surg 2003;18:564-572)
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2003

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