On November 29, 1944, a small, frail child was wheeled into an operating room at the Johns Hopkins Hospital for the first attempt to treat tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart malformation that robs the blood of oxygen. This life-threatening condition is often signaled by a bluish or "cyanotic" cast to the skin, hence the term, blue baby. The procedure joined an artery leaving the heart to an artery leading to the lungs, in an attempt to give the blood a second chance at oxygenation. It was the first blue baby operation and came to be known as the Blalock-Taussig Shunt.
This site is the companion to a 1995 exhibit that commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the first "Blue Baby Operation," a procedure designed to treat a congenital heart defect that deprives the blood of oxygen. The procedure was pioneered by a surgical team that included Alfred Blalock, Helen B. Taussig, and Vivien T. Thomas. The site contains a description of the procedure, an account of the idea, several images, and notes on the three main contributors. A link to further readings also directs visitors to related information as well as the manuscript archives of Blalock, Taussig, and Thomas.