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Open Heart: Intracardiac Surgery at the University of Minnesota

The Bubbled Heart

Hospital Procedures & Patient Care

Patients who received care at the University Medical Center were referred by a home physician or were recommended by a physician designated by a county commissioner.  A hospital admission clerk evaluated the financial status of each patient and classified them by their ability to make payment for their procedure and additional hospital services. 

In 1955, the Variety Club Heart Hospital was designated a regional cardiac surgery center for children. Crippled Children’s Services, part of the Department of Public Welfare of the state of Minnesota, worked with hospital administration to admit children for care. 

Patients admitted to the Variety Club Heart Hospital were evaluated by pediatric cardiologists and given a series of tests to evaluate their symptoms.  Heart catheterization was commonly used to detect the presence of a congenital heart defect and determine a patient’s suitability for open heart surgery. 

Patients scheduled for surgery often were admitted several days before the operation to allow for preoperative preparations.  After the operation, patients were taken to the recovery room for rehabilitation and were discharged after a period of 2-3 weeks.