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Broadly speaking, a cardiac surgeon is a general surgeon who, of necessity, has had to explore in some detail and even to expand upon pertinent aspects of the sciences basic to general surgery. He has become the prototype of an operating surgeon, basing clinical action on clinically oriented research. Although seeking information to help him solve specific problems within his own special interests, the cardiac surgeon inevitably made multiple practical contributions to the management of similar problems in general surgery. He has stimulated surgical investigation and teaching, and, as a by-product of his therapeutic achievements, he has been a challenge to the diagnostic ability of a variety of medical practitioners. His ability to operate successfully for a broad spectrum of cardiovascular diseases placed squarely before them new diagnostic and therapeutic obligations.
A vital need on the part of the cardiac surgeon has been a truer practical understanding of basic physiopathologic
Swan H. How Cardiac Surgery Transformed Surgery. Arch Surg. 1963;87(3):365-368. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1963.01310150001001