Milestones in Pediatric Cardiology: Making Possible the Impossible



Pediatric Cardiology as a discipline has been proposed to have been born on August 26, 1938, when Robert Gross at the age of 33 years, successfully ligated a patent ductus arteriosus of a 7 years girl at the Children's Hospital in Boston. In November 1944, Helen Taussig convinced Alfred Blalock to anastomose the left subclavian artery to the left pulmonary artery after Robert Gross had declined to cooperate with her. About the 1950s, at the University of Minneapolis, Clarence Walton Lillehei worked on a controlled “crossed circulation” in which the cardiopulmonary bypass machine was another human, generally one of the patient's parents. In 1966 Williams Rashkind introduced ballon septostomy as a palliative approach to complete transposition of the Great Arteries, followed later by Jean Kan's balloon valvuloplasty to open the pulmonary valve. During the 1960s Giancarlo Rastelli developed a new classification of the Atrio Ventricular Canal defect which allowed to have a strikingly better surgical results. Today, even the hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), at one time a fatal condition, is operable. The completion of the Human Genome Project has been an enormous help in the understanding the genetic causes of cardiac anomalies. However, there are very few approved application for stem cells, and stem cells will not likely replace organ transplantation any time soon. Recently, the protein survivin has been described as a novel player in cardioprotection against myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury. The science needs to be made with love to warrant the humanity of Research.

The authors have no funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.