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King of Hearts : The True Story of the Maverick who Pioneered Open Heart Surgery - by G Wayne Miller

Published by Random House
ISBN: 0812930037
Priced at £10.42

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"1 in every 100 children are born with a Congenital Heart Defect. Thanks to advances in cardiac surgery over the past 20 years, many of these children are now reaching adulthood." The Introduction to our Website

Yet as little as 50 years ago it was all very different, whilst it was possible to operate on the outside of the heart, it was not yet possible to open the heart to repair defects inside.

"King of Hearts" tells the story of the surgeons that pioneered open heart surgery, early experimentation with cross circulation, where a donor acted as the patients heart and lungs for the operation. The fight to develop a heart lung machine, the cardiac pacemaker, and the artificial heart valve. Surgeons' had to work with primitive monitoring equipment and exploding anaesthesia gases.

But "King of Hearts" is not a dry medical textbook it also tells of the human cost of heart surgery, patients who died during those pioneering operations, who would not benefit from the knowledge that they had given the surgeons.

An extract of the book is available at the authors website

Reviewed by Antony Horner

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