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History of cardiac surgery
  1. M K Davies,
  2. A Hollman

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On 25 February 1996 India released this stamp to commemorate 100 years of cardiac surgery. The brochure issued by the Department of Posts contains the following comments: “Stephen Paget, a famous British surgeon, remarked in his textbook on surgery of the chest as late as in 1896, `Surgery of the heart has probably reached the limit set by nature to all surgery; no new method and no new discovery can overcome the natural difficulties that attend a wound of the heart'. The same year however, Ludwig Rehn of Frankfurt performed the first successful repair of a stab wound of the heart. The era of cardiac surgery had begun”. The following cardiac surgical milestones over the next 100 years are quoted: surgery on the aortic valve (Theodore Tuffier, Paris 1912), surgery on the mitral valve (Elliot Cutter, Boston 1923), systemic pulmonary shunt for blue babies (Alfred Blalock, Baltimore 1945), closure of atrial septal defect (John Lewis, Minnesota 1952), valve substitute implantation (Charles Hufnagel, Georgetown 1952), open heart operation (John Gibbon, Boston 1953), totally implantable pacemaker (Ake Senning, Sweden 1959), successful coronary artery bypass (Michael DeBakey, Houston 1964), and cardiac transplantation (Christiaan Barnard, Cape Town 1967).


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The design of the stamp has been very carefully chosen to mark 100 years of cardiac surgery. On the left part of the design is depicted the first ever successful suturing of a heart wound and on the right cardiac transplantation in progress. A total of 600 000 stamps were printed by Calcutta Security Printers using the process of photo offset.

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