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The Blalock-Taussig shunt: the social history of an eponym

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 April 2009

William N. Evans*
Children’s Heart Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America Division of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America
Correspondence to: William N. Evans MD, Children’s Heart Center, 3006 S. Maryland Pkwy, Ste. 690, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA. Tel: (702) 732-1290. Fax: (702) 732-1385; E-mail:


Creating eponyms for surgical procedures or medical discoveries can be a simple objective process of attaching names of innovators. Some eponyms, however, have a controversial history. Undertaking the first systemic-to-pulmonary arterial shunt required the combined efforts of Helen Taussig, Vivien Thomas, and Alfred Blalock. In this review, I attempt to look beyond the mechanics of attributing the eponym to the larger social history surrounding the term.

Historical Vignette
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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