In a not very distant past surgical interference of the heart itself was considered quite out of the question, and even its suggestion seemed highly ridiculous.
As late as 1888 Rydinger said that "the proposal of suturing of heart wounds hardly needs any serious consideration." Even Billroth told his friends that any one who tried to suture a heart wound would surely lose the respect of all his confrères. No doubt unknown to these authorities, however, about this time experimental work was being done along these lines. As early as 1812 Block1 demonstrated a dog ih which he had successfully stured the heart. He was followed by Howell and Donaldson,2 in 1884, Phillipson3 (1886) and Del Vecchio4 (1894). Then came Cappelen and Farina,5 each with an attempt at heart suture in man with disastrous results, followed by Rehn6 in the same year with the
AXEL WERELIUS. EXPERIMENTAL SURGERY OF THE HEART, LUNG AND TRACHEA. JAMA. 1914;LXIII(16):1338–1344. doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02570160004002