Alexis Carrel

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Alexis Carrel
BirthplaceSainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, Rhône, France
Known for New techniques in vascular sutures and pioneering work in transplantology and thoracic surgery.

Carrel, Alexis

(kärĕl`, kə–), 1873–1944, American surgeon and experimental biologist, b. near Lyons, France, M.D. Univ. of Lyons, 1900. Coming to the United States in 1905, he joined the staff of the Rockefeller Institute in 1906 and served as a member from 1912 to 1939. For his work in suturing blood vessels, in transfusion, and in transplantation of organs, he received the 1912 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. In World War I he developed, with Henry D. Dakin, a method of treating wounds by irrigation with a sodium-hypochlorite solution. With Charles A. Lindbergh he invented an artificial, or mechanical, heart, by means of which he kept alive a number of different kinds of tissue and organs; he kept tissue from a chicken's heart alive for 32 years. In 1939 he returned to France. He wrote Man the Unknown (1935) and, with Lindbergh, The Culture of Organs (1938).

Carrel, Alexis


Born June 28, 1873, near Lyon; died Nov. 5, 1944, in Paris. French experimental surgeon and pathophysiologist.

In 1896, Carrel graduated from the medical faculty in Lyon. From 1904 he worked at the Hull Physiological Laboratory in Chicago, and from 1906 at the Rockefeller Institute in New York. In 1912 he received the Nobel Prize for working out original methods of suturing blood vessels “end to end,” keeping blood vessels and organs viable in a liquid medium, and treating and healing wounds; for designing a perfusion pump that supplies blood and oxygen to an organ while it is outside the body; and for working out the technique of growing tissue culture.


“Neue Untersuchungen über das selbständige Leben der Gewebe und Organe.” Berliner klinische Wochenschrift, 1913, no. 24, pp. 1097–1101.
The Treatment of Infected Wounds. New York, 1917. (With G. De-helly.)
The Culture of Organs. New York, 1938. (With C. A. Lindbergh.)


Smith, R. B. “Alexis Carrel.” Investigative Urology, 1967, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 102–05.
References in periodicals archive ?
The French scientist Alexis Carrel demonstrated that a heart can be kept alive and functioning indefinitely if the toxins are removed from the blood that feeds it.
Among the landmark discoveries described are those of the Italian anatomist Giovanni Morgagni, who in the mid-1700s clinched the link between many diseases and distinct changes within the body, and French surgeon Alexis Carrel, who at the turn of the 20th century demonstrated the plausibility of organ transplants.
Since Alexis Carrel first described the technique 100 years ago, surgeons have used sutures to attach or connect blood vessels to one another.