DURING the past decade, techniques of extracorporeal circulation have been standardized and refined for various clinical applications. Whereas correction of congenital and acquired diseases of the heart and great vessels, pulmonary embolectomy, perfusion with hypothermia, and perfusion of isolated parts of the body for cancer are now realities, artificial replacement of the diseased heart is not yet possible. Recent advances and continuing challenges justify a review of highlights in the development of extracorporeal circulation.
Extracorporeal circulation was proposed more than 150 years ago when Julien-Jean-Cesar LeGallois1 suggested that replacement of the heart by a pump that continuously provided arterial blood or a satisfactory substitute would keep any isolated part of the body viable indefinitely (Fig 1). Despite LeGallois's commendable attempts to perfuse decapitated rabbits by injection, validation of his hypothesis seemed impossible (Fig 2). Evidence of the nonclotting quality of defibrinated blood by Prévost and Dumas2 early in