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Forest Dewey Dodrill (January 26, 1902 – June 28, 1997) was a doctor at Harper University Hospital at Wayne State University in Michigan who performed the first successful open heart surgery using a mechanical pump.[1]

Forest Dewey Dodrill
Born(1902-01-26)January 26, 1902
DiedJune 28, 1997(1997-06-28) (aged 95)
NationalityUnited States
Alma materHarvard Medical School
University of Michigan
Known forOpen heart surgery
Scientific career
InstitutionsHarper University Hospital, Wayne State University


Dodrill was born in Webster Springs, West Virginia and attended West Virginia University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1925, he attended Harvard Medical School, graduating in 1930. Dodrill was an intern and resident at Harper Hospital in Detroit where he became a staff surgeon. He did a thoracic surgical residency at the University of Michigan in the early 1940s, receiving a M.Ch. degree from in 1942.[2]

On July 3, 1952 Dodrill completed the first successful open heart surgery on the left ventricle of Henry Opitek. He used a machine developed by himself and researchers at General Motors, the Dodrill-GMR, considered to be the first operational mechanical heart used while performing open heart surgery.[3][4][5]


  1. ^ Stephenson, Larry W; Arbulu Agustin; Bassett Joseph S; Silbergleit Allen; Hughes Calvin H (2002). "Forest Dewey Dodrill: heart surgery pioneer. Michigan Heart, Part II". Journal of Cardiac Surgery. 17 (3): 247–57, discussion 258–9. doi:10.1111/j.1540-8191.2002.tb01210.x. PMID 12489912.
  2. ^ Stephenson, Larry. "The Michigan Heart" (PDF). Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  3. ^ American Heart Association. The Mechanical Heart celebrates 50 lifesaving years. 22 10 2002. 9 Feb 2008 Archived 2009-11-28 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Wayne State University | School of Medicine Archived June 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Stephenson, Larry W; Arbulu Agustin; Bassett Joseph S; Silbergleit Allen; Hughes Calvin H (2002). "The Michigan Heart: the world's first successful open heart operation? Part I". Journal of Cardiac Surgery. 17 (3): 238–46, discussion 258–9. doi:10.1111/j.1540-8191.2002.tb01209.x. PMID 12489911.