Institution:Columbia University College Of Physicians and Surgeons
Arthur Voorhees, MD, professor of surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
In 1947, during a postmortem examination of a laboratory animal, Voorhees discovered that a silk suture that had been left in the animal’s ventricular cavity has become coated with endocardial tissue cells. This discovery inspired Voorhees to develop a synthetic artery using vinyon-N cloth, a fabric used to make parachutes during wartime. After several experiments with the artificial arteries in animals, in 1952, Voorhees had the opportunity to try his invention in a human who had a ruptured aneurysm but did not have access to a natural graft. The patient survived, and Voorhees went on to perform 18 successful procedures with the vinyon-N tube.