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Etymology: Alfred Blalock, American surgeon, 1899-1964; Helen B. Taussig, American physician, 1898-1986
surgical construction of a shunt between the right subclavian artery and the right pulmonary artery as a temporary measure to overcome congenital heart malformations, such as tetralogy of Fallot, in which there is insufficient pulmonary blood flow. Echocardiography is used to assess the malformation. General anesthesia and a cardiac bypass machine are used for the operation. The subclavian artery is joined end to side with the pulmonary artery, directing blood from the systemic circulation to the lungs. Thrombosis of the shunt is the major postoperative complication. Permanent surgical correction is performed in early childhood. See also heart surgery.