Historical perspectives of The American Association for Thoracic Surgery: Alfred Blalock (1899-1964)

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2012 Feb;143(2):260-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2011.10.071.


Great men are not a common occurrence. Indeed, they are a rare find. Though respected and lauded in their time, it is only in retrospect that their true contributions can be adequately measured as a surgeon, an educator and a scientist. Such is the case of Dr. Alfred Blalock. Many have considered him the father of modern cardiac surgery. All consider his “blue baby” operation to be one of the landmarks of cardiac surgery and, as the chief of surgery at Johns Hopkins, he trained many who would become the leaders of our discipline. His continual reach for excellence helped him to not only affect, but revolutionize the paradigm of surgical research, an understanding of the physiology of shock and the surgical management of pulmonic stenosis/atresia. Dr. Blalock was the 30th president of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery and his presidential address was given in 1951.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Editorial
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Blalock-Taussig Procedure / history
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / history*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / history*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Societies, Medical / history*
  • Thoracic Surgery / history*
  • United States

Personal name as subject

  • Alfred Blalock