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Adib Jatene

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 27 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h324
  1. Ned Stafford, Hamburg
  1. ns{at}

Brazilian cardiac surgeon who developed the “Jatene procedure” for newborn babies

In 2002, after being inducted into the Paediatric Cardiology Hall of Fame, Adib Domingos Jatene was interviewed by the journal Cardiology in the Young. Jatene revealed one of the guiding principles of his life. “I prefer one thousand times the tears of defeat than the shame of not having fought,” he said. And then, with a grin on his friendly face, he admitted that he had read the words on the bumper sticker of a truck in his native Brazil. “Isn’t that a beauty?” he said.1

Borrowed from a truck’s bumper sticker or not, the adage accurately reflects Jatene’s personality. In 1975 he had the courage to attempt the first anatomic repair of transposition of the great arteries—a birth defect of the large arteries of the heart known by the abbreviation TGA. After deciding to attempt the complex surgery, Jatene prepared by frequently examining the 62 TGA specimens and other congenital cardiac lesions in the laboratory of the Dante Pazzanese Institute of Cardiology in São Paulo. He also reviewed literature on the topic, including a paper by Harold Albert, who suggested that “the problem could be solved if the coronary arteries could be transposed.”2

His first attempt was …

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