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Lesson Objectives:. To examine the impact of technology on surgery. Focusing on: Christian Barnard, transplant surgery, keyhole surgery and radiation therapy. By Mr DayDownloaded from SchoolHistory.co.uk. Key Individuals: Christian Barnard. The first man to transplant a human heart.

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Lesson Objectives:

  • To examine the impact of technology on surgery.

  • Focusing on: Christian Barnard, transplant surgery, keyhole surgery and radiation therapy.

By Mr DayDownloaded from SchoolHistory.co.uk


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Key Individuals: Christian Barnard. The first man to transplant a human heart.


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Key Individuals: Christian Barnard

  • Who was he?Christian Barnard was born in South Africa and worked as a surgeon at the Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town. After, further training in America, he became a leading heart surgeon.

  • What brought him to prominence?

  • In 1967 he transplanted the heart of a road accident victim into a 59 year old man, Louis Washkansky. This was the first operation of its kind.

  • Unfortunately, Washkansky died 18 days later from pneumonia. the drugs used to prevent the body rejecting the new heart adversely weakened his resistance to infection.


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  • Was Barnard successful?

  • One of Barnard's patients lived for over a year and a half after surgery, but patients needed drugs to prevent the body rejecting the donor heart. these left them open to infection and many died. After a while, all heart operations stopped because the risk of failure was considered too high.

  • In 1974 a new drug was discovered called cyclosporin. This drug helped to overcome the body's rejection of the donor organs and protected the patient against infection.

  • Subsequent heart transplants were more successful and since the late 1980s, the majority of patients have survived for more than two years after surgery.


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High Technology Medicine

  • Keyhole surgery enables operations to be performed with the help of a miniaturised camera, while developments in micro surgery allow the finest of blood vessels to be reconnected.

  • Using miniaturised tools, including a tiny flexible camera, the surgeon can operate remotely, using a television monitor to see what is happening.

  • Many operations can now be performed without making an incision in the body at all - the surgeon can reach the upper parts of the body through the mouth and the lower part through the rectum. Ouch!


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An Example of High Tech. Medicine: Magnetic resonance scanning


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To Sum Up: High Technology Medicine

  • Advances in modern technology, and in particular, miniaturisation, have revolutionised surgery

  • Keyhole surgery uses an endoscope with a small camera attached to probe organs and perform surgery, sometimes using lasers

  • Micro surgery magnifies the area to be operated on, enabling surgeons to rejoin tiny nerves and blood vessels.


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Impact of Technology

  • One of the impacts of Technology on Medicine is that stays in hospital are getting shorter.

  • New techniques, such as keyhole surgery mean that people are opened up less in operations, so they heal more quickly.

  • Because of new drugs, people recover more quickly from operations and by now, many operations, which were once new, and perhaps dangerous, have become much safer.


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Radiation Therapy

  • What is radiation therapy?

  • Shortly after the discovery of the x-ray by German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen in 1895, the "powerful rays" were being used to effectively treat cancer.

  • Today, an increasing number of patients have their cancers treated successfully, with few side effects and preservation of normal tissue, using radiation therapy.


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What is Radiation Therapy?

  • About 50 to 60 percent of cancer patients are treated with radiation at some time during their disease.

  • Radiation therapy is the careful use of high-energy radiation to treat cancer.

  • Radiation therapy works because the radiation destroys the cancer cells' ability to reproduce and the body naturally gets rid of these cells.


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Radiation Therapy

  • Sometimes radiation therapy is only part of a patient's treatment. For example, a woman may have radiation therapy after breast conserving surgery.

  • She can be cured of her cancer and still keep her breast. When radiation therapy is only part of a patient's treatment it is called adjuvant treatment.


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