How fast can you count to this #?
We Need Your Help!
Do You Know This Scientist?
If you do, we welcome your input. Please share your funny stories, brief anecdotes, quotes, and photos of the scientist - as well as your own inspirational opinions. Personal accounts help bring a scientist alive and create an enduring historical picture. You can be a part of this exciting history by providing your personal account!
Please click here to learn more about how to contribute:
Participate as a Friend Scholar
Can You Write or Research?
Help us learn more about this great scientist. You can be a credited Support Scholar by contributing your knowledge about this scientist and important discovery. Entries can be as short as a single section and as easy as compiling quotes. Click here to learn more about becoming a Support Scholar:
Participate as a Support Scholar
Would you like to adopt a scientist?
Endeavor to research all the sections of a scientist. Click here to learn how to be an Expert Scholar.
Participate as an Expert Scholar
Have Historically Significant Photographs?
Participate with Photos
Click here for all the ways you can participate:
Participate to ScienceHeroes.com
Has this scientist’s science impacted your life?
Click here to tell your story or to read others’ life changing anecdotes:
Post Your Own Testimonial
(July 18, 1916 - Novemver 22, 1998)
Born in Russia
Year of Discovery: 1953
Bypass Surgery Made Possible by His Experiments
In 1936, well-known Russian Nobel Prize winner Ivan P. Pavlov wrote, A Letter to Scientific Youth, instructing young Russian students to pursue scientific interests, despite adverse circumstances. One of the young Russians inspired by Pavlov's letter was 20-year-old Vladimir Demikhov. Conditions in Russia during this time could not have been much worse, as Stalin's Great Purge was ongoing. During this time millions of Soviets were put into Gulags, where the life expectancy was a single harsh winter. This was a closed society, hidden behind what became known as the Iron Curtain. Behind it Vladimir Demikhov began quietly transforming cardiac treatment techniques and organ transplants with his experimental innovations. Amidst the horrific mass killing in his country, he focused his efforts on ways to save one life at a time.
Demikhov's investigational work was not supported, so all of his experiments had to take place late in the evenings or on weekends. He experimented on dogs, and the first successful heart-lung transplant took place June 30, 1946. The dog survived for 9 hours and 26 minutes. Later that same year, in October, a similar transplant was done and the dog survived 5 additional days. In his work studying organ transplantation, Demikhov had connected and re-connected blood vessels more than 700 times. This gave him the insight and experience to know all about how the vessels around the heart react and allowed him to perform the first successful animal coronary artery bypass on July 29, 1953. Vasilii Kolesov translated Demikhov's success to humans and directed the only surgical center in the world that performed these coronary artery procedures between February 25, 1964, and May 9, 1967.
Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a critical procedure for people who have dangerous hardening and narrowing of their coronary arteries. The coronary arteries are the vessels that bring the oxygen-rich blood to the heart. If left untreated, coronary artery disease can lead to a heart attack. The surgery creates new routes around the narrowed and blocked arteries, allowing better blood flow to the heart, delivering much needed oxygen and nutrients. Millions of these procedures have been performed around the world since 1979, and it is estimated that over 2.4 million lives have been saved.
During the Cold War, the majority of Russian scientists were able to read English and they learned about scientific and medical advances being made in the West, but the West seemed to have little interest in discoveries being made in Russia. Demikhov's publications were in Russian, so they were not available until 1962, when his monograph was translated and published in English. His main interest was always in organ transplantation and he was extremely proud of his work, always inviting visitors into his laboratory. One of his controversial "successes" was when he conducted dog head transplants during the 1950s, resulting in two-headed dogs that stayed alive for several months.
Introduction by April Ingram
Table of ContentsIntroduction
Links to More Information About the Scientist
Key Experiment or Research
Quotes by the Scientist
Quotes About the Scientist
Fun Trivia About The Science
The Science Behind the Discovery
Science Discovery Timeline
Recommended Books About the Science
Books by the Scientist
Books About the Scientist
Major Academic Papers
Links to Science and Related Information on the Subject
Links to More About the Scientist & the Science
Stranger Than Fiction website article discussing Demikhov's transplants:
The New York Times obituary of Demikhov:
Sliders & Images here
Heroes Featured in Scientists Greater than Einstein
Click the thumbnail to jump to the scientist. Click the large image, scientist's name or "read more" to go to the scientist's page.
The Science Behind the Discovery
Links to Information on the Science