Saturday, 3 September 2011
His interest in blood vessel surgery was aroused in 1894 hen the French president, Marie Francois Carnot (1837-1894), was shot. The assassin's bullet serves a major artery, and Carnot bled to death because no techniques existed at the time to repair served blood vessels. Carrel set out to develop such methods. He learned through embroidery lessons how to use very fine needles and silk thread. He used strict to avoid infections. To prevent clotting-the major cause of failure in blood vessel suturing-Carrel coated needles, other instruments, and thread with paraffin. To expose blood only to the smooth inner walls of the vessels-thereby further reducing the risk of clotting-Alexis invented the technique of rolling back the vessel ends like cuffs and then stitching the turned-back ends together. Carrel's suturing technique was successfully implemented in 1902.
The ability to stich blood vessels together opned the door to far more sophisticated surgery than had previously been possible, including organ transplantation. Unable to advance professionally at Lyons, Carrel furthered his study of advanced medicine in Paris, France, in 1903 and then moved to Canada, intending to became cattle rancher. Instead. he became an assistant in physiology at the University of Chicago from 1904 to 1906 and, from 1906 to 1938, was a research member of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York City.
At both Chicago and the Rockefeller Institute, Carrel expanded his work blood vessel surgery int o the field of organ transplantation, transferring kidneys and other organs in animals. His successful grafting f veins to arteries laid the basis for today's common coronary artery bypass surgery. For his work in suturing and transplantation, Carrel received the 1912 Nobel Prize for medicine or physiology. Carrel also experimented with tissue cultivation. Expanding on the earlier work of Ross Harrison, Carrel kept a piece of tissue from a chick embryo's heart alive and reproducing in his lab for thirty-fore years; the tissue culture outlived Carrel! During service for the French army in World War I, Carrel developed a very effective means of irrigating deep wounds with a disinfectant solution.
After the war, collaborated with the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974) to develop a device that would keep entire organs alive outside the