CME INDIA Presentation by ⚜ Dr. M. Gowri Sankar, MD, Senior Assistant Professor, Dept. of General Medicine, Government Medical College and ESI Hospital, Coimbatore.

Today’s History Feature:

Dr. Denton A. Cooley

(Aug 22, 1920 – Nov 18, 2016)

💠American Cardiothoracic Surgeon

💠Founder of Texas Heart Institute

His contributions:

  • Cooley studied medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore and graduated in 1944. 
  • He remained at Hopkins as a resident to Dr. Alfred Blalock and assisted his first Blalock-Taussig Procedure performed for tetralogy of Fallot.
  • In fact the modern era of cardiovascular surgery had begun with the contributions of Dr. Blalock. By observing him closely, Dr. Cooley got inspired to specialize in cardiac surgery. 
  • Thereby he collaborated with Dr. Russell Brock, one of the pioneers of Modern Open-Heart surgery at London. 
  • Afterwards, he returned to U.S and joined the Baylor College of Medicine, where he collaborated with Dr. Michael DeBakey. 
  • The duo produced great innovative techniques to repair aortic aneurysms and to bypass arteriosclerotic blockages in the leg and neck. 
  • Subsequently, Dr. Cooley was the first to introduce the “Bloodless” heart surgery. By using a nonblood solution of 5% dextrose and diluted saline to prime the Heart-Lung Machine.
  • In 1962, he founded the Texas Heart Institute, which is a non-profit organization for cardiovascular research and he was promoted as a chief surgeon there during 1969. 
  • In this institute, Dr. Cooley developed most of the today’s commonly used cardiovascular procedures and devices.
  • Furthermore, he pioneered on operating congenital heart disease and valve transplant. He was the first surgeon to successfully remove pulmonary embolism.
  • However, he is best known for his First Successful Human Heart Transplant performed in the United States on May 3, 1968. 
  • Whereas, 5 months earlier on December 3, 1967, Dr. Christiaan N. Barnard, a South African cardiac surgeon had performed the World’s First Human-to-Human heart transplant.
  • In addition, Dr. Cooley was recognized for the First Clinical Implants of Mechanical Devices
  • Basically, he was a man of energy and enthusiasm. He oversaw as many as 30 operations daily and himself corrected around 10 of the most difficult cases. 
  • Moreover, he personally repaired about 12,000 aortic aneurysms, which became a remarkable record. Further, he also holds 33 Personal First’s in cardiovascular surgery.
  • He published more than 1,300 scientific papers and 12 books.
  • Eventually, his fabulous contributions were honoured with many awards including the “Medal of Freedom” in 1984 from the President Ronald Reagan. While awarding, the president remarked – “Dr. Cooley has charted new territory in his search for ways to prolong and enrich human life.”

A Day to Commemorate…

An Outstanding Cardiothoracic Surgeon.

Dr. Denton A. Cooley🙏🏼


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