Article Abstract

Advances and research in congenital heart disease

Authors: Ali Dodge-Khatami


The fate of babies born with congenital heart disease (CHD) has dramatically changed in the last 4–5 decades, going from a universally fatal condition in the vast majority of patients in the absence of diagnosis or intervention, to an entity whose outcome, at least in terms of peri-operative/hospital stay, has improved to an expected survival of about 96%. Indeed, since the first surgical solution for any type of congenital heart defect in 1938, ligation of a patent ductus arteriosus by Dr. Robert Gross at Boston Children’s Hospital (1), followed by the pioneering work of Alfred Blalock and Helen Taussig in the palliation of “blue babies” with tetralogy of Fallot in 1944 (2), to the critical breakthrough of open heart surgery with inflow occlusion and repair of an atrial septal defect by F. John Lewis in 1952 (3), then the first operation done with the support of extracorporeal pump oxygenation by John Gibbon in 1953 (4), and cross-circulation championed by Walt C. Lillehei in 1954 (5), the field of surgical and interventional treatment and palliation for CHD has exploded into the success story we know today.