The First Open-Heart Repairs Using Extracorporeal Circulation by Cross-Circulation: A 53-Year Follow-Up

James H. Moller, Sara J. Shumway, Vincent L. Gott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Between March 26, 1954 and July 19, 1955, C. Walton Lillehei and colleagues operated upon 45 infants and children with previously uncorrectable cardiac anomalies using cross-circulation with a human donor. Late follow-up was obtained in all of the 28 patients discharged after the operation. All of the 20 currently living patients were personally interviewed with regard to their cardiac status. Eight early survivors have died. Three died after repair of a residual cardiac anomaly. Another died 4 months postoperatively from heart failure. The other 4 died 13 to 47 years later: 2 of unknown causes, 1 of pneumonia, and 1 was an accident. Eleven late cardiac operations were performed. Seven were done to correct a residual anomaly. More than 40 years later, 2 patients underwent procedures to correct tricuspid regurgitation. One had a mitral valve procedure, and another underwent coronary artery bypass grafting. Of the current 20 survivors, none is limited from cardiac causes. Considering that these 45 patients represent "the dawn of open-heart surgery," the long-term results are quite remarkable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1044-1046
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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