- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Gavriliu's operation

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The reversed gastric tube operation, in which a section of the stomach is used to bypass the oesophagus. This operation was the first successful organ replacement and is now used in operating rooms throughout the world. It gave people with oesophageal damage from birth defects, cancer or drinking poison a chance to eat and swallow like normal people.

This is Heimlich's description, taken from the internet: "The reversed gastric tube operation, the Heimlich operation for replacement of the esophagus, which I came out with in the 1950s, is very simple. It is a matter of replacing the esophagus by making two tubes out of the stomach, which is really one large tube, and carrying the blood supply with the part of the stomach that will become the new esophagus. The new tube is made from the stomach, by inserting a double row of staples and cutting between them. Then you rotate this tube upward and join it to the throat and the new tube becomes the new esophagus. The old diseased esophagus is closed off and the person can eat normally."

For some details about the Gavriliu-Heimlich controversy over priority, see under Heimlich. The correct term is Gavriliu's operation. Gavriliu first performed the operation on April 20, 1951. Heimlich performed his first successful oesophagus operation on a human patient on April 20, 1957, at New York Medical College-Metropolitan Hospital Medical Center.


  • Dan Gavriliu and Leonida Georgescu:
    Esofagoplastie directã cu material gastric (anastomozã eso.gastricã).
    Rivista Stiintelor Medicale, June 1951, 3: 33-36.
  • Dan Gavriliu and Leonida Georgescu:
    Esofagoplastie Viscerala Directã. Chirurgia, 1955, 4: 104-138.
  • Henry J. Heimlich and James M. Winfield:
    The use of a gastric tube to replace or by-pass the esophagus.
    Surgery, April, 1955.
    Heimlich and Windfield performed the operation on eight dogs.
  • Henry J. Heimlich:
    The use of a gastric tube to replace the esophagus as performed by Dr. Dan Gavriliu of Bucharest, Rumania. A preliminary report following a visit to Bucharest, Rumania.
    Surgery, October, 1957, 17 (4):
    In this article Heimlich says that priority should be given to Gavriliu.

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