Donald Longmore was a cardiac surgeon in the 1960s, the early days of cardiac surgery, when the few survivors frequently had multi organ failure including the usually fatal kidney failure. Contemporary artificial kidneys were unsuitable for post cardiac surgery patients therefore he made “gentle” artificial kidneys. These took him into a new world of kidney physicians and surgeons who were successfully transplanting kidneys. It seemed logical to transplant the less biologically complex hearts. He became a pioneer of heart transplantation.
Supported with a grant from The British Heart Foundation he set up a laboratory and team to transplant hearts and lungs culminating in the application to humans.
He was convinced that the major proportion of cardiac surgery dealt with manifestations of arterial disease and the result of failed prevention. His friend Sir John Vane had made the Nobel prize-winning discovery of Prostacyclin which promised a greater understanding of arterial disease causing blockage of arteries to vital organs ultimately causing coronary and stroke.(Vane became a supporter of CORDA and a patron until his death).
With an understanding of the disease process it was logical to see if it could be prevented or reversed.
A method of detecting the disease process long before symptoms appeared was therefore urgently needed.