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April 27, 1984

The Blalock-Taussig Operation and Subsequent Progress in Surgical Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases

Author Affiliations

From the Cardiology Section, Baylor College of Medicine, and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston.

JAMA. 1984;251(16):2139-2141. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340400067026

In 1945, few would have predicted the sustained worldwide interest in, and profound influence on, the surgical treatment of heart disease that would follow the report of three children operated upon for a cyanotic malformation of the heart. The paper was submitted for publication when the patients were only a few months postoperative, probably leading some critics to question whether the report of success was a little premature. The authors acknowledged and defended the promptness of the report as follows: "The results are sufficiently encouraging to warrant an early report."1

The paper was not a hastily assembled report of a new procedure but included, first, a methodical exposition on the prevailing theories of the mechanism of cyanosis in congenital heart disease, then a step-by-step review of how Dr Taussig developed the concept of surgically increasing the volume of blood to the pulmonary circulation in cyanotic malformations with pulmonary stenosis