Mimi Swartz's 'Ticker': The astonishing half-century quest for an artificial human heart

Mimi Swartz's 'Ticker': The astonishing half-century quest for an artificial human heart

Mimi Swartz's 'Ticker': The astonishing half-century quest for an artificial human heart

One of DeBakey’s colleagues was Denton Cooley, a quick-moving risk-taker who “was so handsome,” Swartz writes, that he “could make the wives of patients momentarily forget their husbands’ dire circumstances.” In the operating room, she writes, “he was fast, dexterous, and inventive,” and, strangely, “he loved the unexpected disaster.” In the 1950s, when Cooley arrived at Baylor, the heart was an organ that was considered off-limits for any reputable surgeon. Surrounding tissue was operated on, such as blood vessels, but not the heart itself. But then Cooley was presented with a patient who had an aneurysm of the aortic arch, “a dangerous weakening of the arterial wall where it curves just above the heart,” as Swartz describes it, and a very perilous condition associated with catastrophic surgical failures.

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Published at Tue, 09 Oct 2018 22:36:01 +0000

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