Heart-lung machine, English, c 1958.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This was the first completely artifical apparatus used in open heart surgery and was designed by Dennis Melrose, at Hammersmith Hospital in London, to provide the body's vital areas with sufficient oxygenated blood during open heart operations. It was esentially a method of spreading blood in very thin films over a large surface and hence exposing the red cells directly to oxygen. The blood is pased through a large compartmentalised plastic cylinder and flows over rotating discs whilst a current of oxygen is blown acros it.