Bryukhonenko’s Autojector: The First Apparatus for Cardiopulmonary Bypass and Extracorporeal Life Support

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Sergey Bryukhonenko was a prominent Soviet physician-scientist who from 1922 to 1924 developed a methodology for perfusing a canine head and keeping it alive using the first extracorporeal life support device he created called “Autojector.” From 1926 to 1927, in collaboration with surgeon Nikolay Terebinsky, he performed a series of perfusion experiments of the entire canine body using a more advanced model of Autojector. Subsequently, Bryukhonenko concluded the possibility of extending this methodology to heart surgery. Although Bryukhonenko never applied his device in clinical practice, Terebinsky used the concept from 1929 to 1940 on open heart experiments. Although he never received sufficient acknowledgement for his pioneering work, it must be recognized that Bryukhonenko, along with Terebinsky, laid the groundwork for developing cardiac surgery in the Soviet Union.

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