Heart operation in progres, 1991.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
One of a series of paintings by Keith Holmes. It shows an operation under way in the operating theatre, Heart Centre, Cardio-Thoracic Unit, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. Cardiac surgery has become increasingly sophisticated and succesful since the first heart operations were performed in the 1940s. The first open heart surgery was carried out in 1952, and heart bypas operations were first succesfully undertaken in the 1960s. In 1967, a South African surgeon, Dr Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant, an operation which has become increasingly commonplace with better and longer patient survival rates due to advances in dealing with the problem of rejection of transplanted organs.