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 began with the contribution 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 & enthusiasm. He oversaw as many as 30 operations daily and himself corrected around 10 of the most difficult cases. 
  • Moreover, he had personally repaired about 12,000 aortic aneurysms, which became a remarkable record and also holds a list of 33 Personal First’s in cardiovascular surgery.
  • He also published more than 1,300 scientific papers and 12 books.
  • Eventually, his fabulous contributions were honoured with many awards including “Medal of Freedom” in 1984 from the President Ronald Reagan. While awarding, the president remarked that “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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