IN SEPTEMBER 1985, the People's Republic of China (PRC) was still recovering from
the Cultural Revolution, a 10-year movement (1966-1976) that isolated it socially,
economically, and medically from the rest of the world.
- Lu J
- Wang W
- Cheng W
- et al.
Current status of cardiovascular anesthesia in China.
Ramzy, Austin. Mao's Cultural Revolution.
That year, an executive at an American bank, who was formerly a perfusionist at the
Texas Heart Institute (THI), conceived an expedition to the PRC by a THI cardiovascular
team. His goal was to demonstrate American cardiac care techniques, monitoring, prosthetics,
and perfusion equipment, which he hoped would open a new market for American equipment.
The THI, in Houston, Texas, remains an internationally known cardiac surgery center.
By 1985 it was the nation's busiest open-heart cardiac surgery program, reaching 5,000
open heart procedures annually.
A brief history of the Texas Heart Institute.
The THI reputation and the banking executive's prior association were responsible
for the expedition's choice of THI for the clinical team. Other trip organizers had
previous contacts with the Shanghai Renji (also known as “Ren-Ji”) Hospital, which
was associated with the No. 2 People's Medical School. The hospital surgical team
was receptive to the authors visit. This article presents the experience of the authors,
the 2 cardiovascular anesthesiologists on this unusual journey.