Office of NIH History  
A Short History of the National Institutes of Health
  Open Heart Surgery using hypothermia  
   
  A photograph of  open-heart surgery 
            performed at the NIH Clinical Center using hypothermia. The patient 
            was placed in a bed of ice to lower the total body temperature so 
            that body tissues used very little oxygen. This permitted interuption 
            of the blood flow for a brief period so that some procedures could 
            be performed. This technique preceded the advent of the heart-lung 
            machine, which today takes over the job of pumping blood during heart 
            surgery.  
     
  "In 1955, open-heart surgery was performed at the NIH Clinical Center using hypothermia. The patient was placed in a bed of ice to lower the total body temperature so that body tissues used very little oxygen. This permitted interuption of the blood flow for a brief period so that some procedures could be performed. This technique preceded the advent of the heart-lung machine, which today takes over the job of pumping blood during heart surgery."  
     
     
     
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