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Photo of Henry Swan
January 9, 2012

American surgeon Henry Swan II (1913-1996) pioneered the use of hypothermia - cooling patients to a very low body temperature - to make possible the first open-heart surgeries. Between 1953 and 1963, while heart-lung bypass technology was still being perfected, Swan performed hundreds of successful cardiac repairs using hypothermia to temporarily stop the heart. His clinical work built on his extensive surgical lab research, which made major contributions to medical understanding of the physiological and metabolic processes of hypothermia, shock, and hemorrhage.