History of the Lab

cardiac surgery research - image of blue baby operation

Founded in 1942 by surgeon Alfred Blalock and surgical technician Vivien Thomas, the Cardiac Surgery Research Lab at The Johns Hopkins Hospital has a long and productive history. The lab traces its origins back to Dr. Blalock’s days with the development of a surgical procedure now known as the Blalock-Taussig shunt for correction of pulmonary stenosis, or “blue baby syndrome,” in Thomas’ research lab. On Nov. 29, 1944, Dr. Blalock, assisted by surgery chief resident William Longmire and intern Denton Cooley, and with Thomas and pediatric cardiologist Helen Taussig in the room, performed the procedure successfully on a frail infant. This surgery not only went on to save thousands of lives, but it also marked the beginning of a new era in cardiac surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The landmark article documenting experimental evidence for the new technique, which appeared in the Journal of Thoracic Surgery in 1944, came straight out of the Hunterian Laboratory, the forerunner of the Cardiac Surgery Research Lab. Now located in the Alfred Blalock Building, the lab continues the traditions of basic science, clinical surgical research, and the training and education of surgical residents who have become leaders in their fields all over the world.

Learn more about the history of cardiac surgery research at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

cardiac surgery research - image of billings building and blalock building

Our Laboratory Facility

The Cardiac Surgery Laboratory is located on the 12th floor of the Blalock Building of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Cardiac Surgery laboratory space consists of a 515 square foot operating room (see picture) with an adjacent room (222 square feet) used for pre and post-operative animal care, equipment, and supply storage. Two other rooms totaling 190 square feet adjacent to the operating room are used for surgical scrub area, washing, sterilizing, storage, and minor bench top procedures. This area fully supports all large animal surgery. Adjacent to this large laboratory is another 320 square foot operating room that is equipped for small animal surgery. Additional resources available to the laboratory are the Johns Hopkins Hospital Clinical engineering department who repair and maintain operating equipment and Hospital Facilities, which provide maintenance and repair of all laboratory supplies.

Across the hall from the laboratory are 3 rooms totaling 189 square feet that serve as a laundry room for laboratory materials and office space for 2 full time technicians. Adjacent to this is an area of 126 square feet for full time research fellows. There is an adjacent room for lab meetings.

Charitable Giving

Many of our projects are funded by generous public donations. While some of our education and research activities have been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health for the last 20 years, we rely on charitable giving to fund our projects.Give online now to make a donation to the Johns Hopkins Cardiac Surgery Research Lab.