Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart

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Numerous inventions to surgically reverse the condition of severely dysfunctional hearts has been a lengthy process. Which procedure best fits as medical know-how advances: an artificial heart, an LVAD (left ventricular assist device), a transplant, less invasive, prevention of such a dire need? Mimi Swartz relates stories of the operating theaters and the actors — the surgeons, the engineers and, no less, the patients, as technology and more durable materials complement human endeavor.

Ticker: the quest to create an artificial heart is mighty readable. Swartz has created a human element to the history where Houston’s hospitals and medical institutes have been at the center of innovation. She describes how two surgeons, the abrasive Michael DeBakey, opting for artificial substitutes, and the wealthy Denton Cooley, as cool by nature as by name, advocating transplants dominated the headlines with their achievements and some memorable anecdotes. Alongside their rivalry, the author ‘s lead player is O.H. ‘Bud’ Frazier an indefatigable West Texan, wholly dedicated to surgery, performing thousands of operations while ignoring personality conflicts among fellow surgeons.

As a longtime executive editor at Texas Monthly magazine, Swartz shares her knowledge with readers already familiar with the discipline of cardiology and others previously wholly ignorant. In the recent past, she writes, to consider operating on the heart was tantamount to sacrilege, and the law so unfettered that calves could be killed for experimentation. Today, each advance is confronted by ‘technical, legal, biological, governmental, financial and, of course, interpersonal challenges.’ All of which, as survivors will attest, can be met and overcome.


Reviewed By:

Author Mimi Swartz
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 336 pages
Publisher Crown 
Publish Date 2018-Aug-07
ISBN 9780804138000
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2018
Category Biographies & Memoirs
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