Open Heart

Open Heart

The Radical Surgeons Who Revolutionized Medicine

Book - 2010
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Baker & Taylor
Drawing on interviews with some of the greatest heart surgeons of the past 20 years, a pioneering heart-transplant surgeon tells the story behind the amazing advances in cardiovascular medicine, as performed by the maverick doctors who strived to perfect them.

Book News
A member of the team that performed the first successful heart transplants in the UK presents interesting professional and personal profiles of many of the pioneers in the field. Dr. Cooper (Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, U. of Pittsburgh Medical Center) describes their contributions, and briefly touches upon other changes in medical research and practice over the past half century. The account includes photographs, e.g., of Drs. Christian Bernard, Robert Jarvik, and Albert Starr, and their early equipment and operations; and diagrams of the heart. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Blackwell Publishing
Around the globe, physicians perform life-saving heart surgeries every day. But until recently, there was nothing ordinary about opening blocked arteries or repairing a damaged valve. The road to these advances was paved with danger, and the first doctors who dared to travel it possessed remarkable courage. At last bringing to light the achievements of these revolutionaries, Open Heart traces the history of a field defined by unthinkable risk. In the spirit of Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff, Dr. David K.C. Cooper's Open Heart pays tribute to the innovative minds that made modern cardiac care possible. While focusing on nineteenth- and twentieth-century medical luminaries, this fascinating story also pays homage to historical figures like Claudius Galen, who treated injured gladiators two thousand years ago, as well as Renaissance scientists who faced execution if their findings contradicted church teachings. Subsequent turning points include the introduction of blood transfusions and anesthesia: the widely publieized aortie surgeries performed by Michael DeBakey; and the achievements of unsung heroes like Arthur Vorhees, whose synthetic vascular grafts transformed treatment for aneurysms, and Charles Hufnagel, inventor of the first artificial heart valve. Showeasing the human struggles and ingenuity that led to lifesaving innovations. Open Heart opens our minds to the power of possibility.

Because the men I profile in this book pursued and achieved their goals, the lives of all of us today young, old, rich, poor have been changed for the better. Without them, blue babies would continue to die in childhood, young adults would continue to die miserable deaths from valve disease, and older people would not be given a second chance through coronary artery surgery or heart transplantation. These men have affected our everyday lives much more than the early astronauts who, like these pioneering surgeous, had "the right stuff."

An esteemed heart transplant surgeon who has been part of top research teams worldwide, Dr. David K.C. Cooper has always marveled at the bold geniuses who blazed the trails in his field. Whether they were exploring the uncharted circulatory system or attempting to repair cardiovascular damage without the benefit of sterile operating rooms, the doctors who advanced our knowledge of cardiac care were young Turks often only in their twenties or early thirties who dared to challenge the conventional scientific and cultural wisdom of their times.

Drawing on fascinating historical sources and research as well as Dr. Cooper's personal oral history, Open Heart brings to life the daring innovators who performed seemingly impossible feats to save lives. Combining colorful narratives from centuries past with interviews with the modern world's great medical luminaries some of whom were Dr. Cooper's mentors this unique tribute introduces us to dozens of colorful, sometimes reckless pioneers who all possessed remarkable skill and passion for improving the lives of their patients. Tracing the technological advancements that made thoracic surgery survivable including the crucial heart-lung machine, manufactured valves, and the artificial heart--- Open Heart is a fantastic voyage through a world once thought to exist only in science fiction. Packed with intriguing insider accounts of triumph in the face of grand failures, occasional feuds over who deserves the limelight, and recollections of patients whose lives were on the line, Dr. Cooper's moving chronicle is essential reading for anyone fascinated by the marvels of the human heart.

Simon and Schuster
A bold and remarkable history, “The Right Stuff” for the giants of heart surgery who performed medical feats once thought impossible

Esteemed heart transplant surgeon Dr. David K.C. Cooper has literally been on the cutting edge of medicine, having been a member of the team that performed the first successful heart transplants in the United Kingdom, and overseeing the heart transplant program at the University of Cape Town Medical School in South Africa, working under Dr. Christiaan Barnard. Open Heart tells the story behind the amazing advances in cardiovascular medicine as performed by the maverick doctors who strived to perfect them. Having interviewed many of the greatest heart surgeons in person during the past 20 years, this book benefits from the emption and excitement of these surgeons’ own words. These men affect everyday lives even more than the early astronauts, who, like these surgeons, had “the right stuff.” But who were they? What drove them to perform the feats they did? Beginning with Claudius Galen, second century A.D. physician to Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and his observations of fallen gladiators, to the major 20th century innovators, Open Heart tells the stories and highlights from the careers of the greatest heart surgeons, including Christiaan Barnard, Denton Cooley, Michael Debakey, and many others. Because of these bold and brilliant physicians, blue babies no longer die at birth, young people can live well into old age, and damaged organs can be transplanted with healthy ones.

Dr. Cooper transforms himself as well, from heart surgeon (and colleague to many of the surgeons profiled in the book) to historian/storyteller as Open Heart portrays the remarkable doctors who have saved the lives of so many others.

Publisher: New York : Kaplan Pub., c2010
ISBN: 9781607144908
Branch Call Number: 617.412 C784o
Characteristics: xv, 431 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm


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