Black and white photo of 1950s operating room with a dozen doctors and nurses performing surgery

In 1956, Cleveland Clinic performed a groundbreaking stopped-heart surgery. A team led by Donald Effler, MD, and Laurence Groves, MD, connected the patient — a 17-month-old boy with a ventricular septal defect — to a heart-lung machine designed by Willem Kolff, MD, PhD. “We believe that a new era of heart surgery has opened,” Dr. Effler said. According to news accounts, the patient was “up and about” soon afterward.