King Of Hearts Book Review

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King of Hearts: The True Story of the Maverick Who Pioneered Open Heart Surgery by G. Wayne Miller presents a detailed look into one of the most influential and groundbreaking journeys in the evolution of open-heart surgery. This book focuses on the life and numerous contributions of Dr. Clarence Walton Lillehei as a forerunner in the field of cardiac surgery. Lillehei grew up as an unusually intelligent and curious boy. Instead of pursuing dentistry like his father, he developed an interest in the field of medicine and eventually attended the University of Minnesota for his medical training. This is where he would be accepted into the research and residency program orchestrated by the brilliant and innovatively unconventional Dr. Owen Wangensteen,…show more content…
Hypothermia could not be used for extended periods of time without risking possible neurological damage to the patient. This made it an impractical mode of repair for birth defects of the heart that were of greater complexity because of the more extensive work required. In addition to this, Hypothermia did not reduce the flow of blood to the heart enough to provide the surgeons even close to a clear field of vision; it was also not a method that was comprehensive enough to be taught to other surgeons, while many surgeons did not have the skill to complete an operation using hypothermia in the first place due to all of its corresponding obstacles. Another major problem with the hypothermia method was that the temperature range that would not cause neurological damage to the patient was not yet known. Lillehei collaborated with colleagues on a revolutionary approach that was a potential solution to some of the faults associated with the hypothermia method: cross-circulation. In this process, the blood vessels of the patient would be fixed to those of a human donor of matching blood type. While the patient’s heart was open during surgery, the donor’s body would act as a blood oxygenator and the blood would be kept circulating via mechanical pump, in addition to the donor’s beating
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