Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance

75th Anniversary of 'blue baby' surgery

You are here

75th Anniversary of 'blue baby' surgery

Today we celebrate 75 years since the first "blue baby" surgery by Alfred Blalock, with Helen Taussig and Vivien Thomas on November 29, 1944.

Picture of Dr. Alfred Blalock, Helen Taussig and Vivien Thomas

The child was 15-month-old, Eileen Saxon, the surgery was a success and she went home after 3 months.  Unfortunately her cynotic episodes returned and 2 days before her 2nd birthday, she underwent another operation, she passed away 5 days later.

Now known as the BT or BTT shunt, the surgery was a success and really the start of #CHD surgery.  We have come a long way since then, with an almost 95% survival rate into adulthood now. 

Between 1947 and 1953 Blalock and Taussig were nominated for Nobel Prizes in either Physiology or Medicine.  They later received the Lasker Award in 1954. Unfortunately, Thomas' contribution wasn't recognized until much later, the story being made into an excellent feature film by HBO called 'Something the Lord Made'. 

To read today's article celebrating the 75 year anniversary, click here

To visit the Blue Baby Operation Exihibit click here

To learn more about the HBO movie 'Something the Lord Made' clinc on the link  Something_the_Lord_Made  To watch the trailer


Images and information from The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.  Thanks to Dr. Fred Wu for his great historical recap on Twitter


About the Author

No bio available.
Are you an adult with congenital heart diseases? To find a cardiologist with specialized training in adult congenital heart disease, please read for important info.


Sorry, there are no posts at this time.