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American surgeon Clarence Dennis (1909-2005) invented one of the first heart-lung bypass machines, and in 1951 was the first to use it to perform open-heart surgery. Heart-lung bypass technology--perfected by Dennis, John Gibbon, and others--eliminated the major barriers to surgical treatment of cardiovascular conditions. During his 60-year career, Dennis's surgical research produced a wide range of surgical techniques and tools, and important contributions to vascular physiology. He was also an outstanding medical educator, first at the University of Minnesota, then at SUNY Downstate Medical Center (where he chaired the department of surgery for 20 years), and finally at SUNY Stony Brook. The National Library of Medicine is the repository for the Clarence Dennis Papers, which range from 1927 to 2003. The collection contains laboratory notes, correspondence, publications, and professional papers.
As part of its Profiles in Science project, the National Library of Medicine is digitizing and making available over the World Wide Web a selection of the Clarence Dennis Papers, for use by educators and researchers. This site provides access to the portions of the Clarence Dennis Papers that are now publicly available. Individuals interested in conducting research in the Clarence Dennis Papers are invited to contact the National Library of Medicine.
This online Exhibit is designed to introduce you to the various phases of Dennis's medical career and professional life. It is divided into sections that focus on Dennis's life and major contributions to surgical research and education. We suggest that new visitors begin with this exhibit, which includes a small selection of documents and visuals, organized within these sections. Each section begins with a "Background Narrative," which leads to "Documents" and "Visuals."
Visitors may access additional materials through Search on the navigation bar. They may also view the materials alphabetically or chronologically by choosing Browse on the navigation bar. Documents and visuals in these lists are arranged by format and then either alphabetically by title or chronologically.