- Dr. Brukhonenko’s research was well known especially in the field of cardiology and the development of open-heart procedures as well as his work with blood transfusions.
- Managed to maintain a steady heartbeat and functioning lungs independent from dogs bodies and documented the work in the 1940’s film “Experiments in the Revival of Organisms.”
Sergei Sergeyevich Brukhonenko was a renown Soviet scientist from the late 1920’s through the 1950’s. Dr. Brukhonenko’s research was well known especially in the field of cardiology and the development of open-heart procedures as well as his work with blood transfusions. Dr. Brukhonenko was no longer pleased with his work and wanted to push the envelope, he slowly changed his focus to sustaining life by artificial means and attempted to create the first fully functional heart-lung machine to revive organisms.
His device would revolutionize the medical world; surgeons would be able to perform transplants while keeping the patients alive during invasive surgeries. By 1925, Dr. Brukhonenko had created the autojector which was a convoluted machine with automatic pumps that not only stored oxygenated blood but also injected as well as extracted the blood.
Dr. Brukhonenko began experimenting with dogs. His early experiments focused on the sustaining organs outside of their bodies. His lab managed to maintain a steady heartbeat and functioning lungs independent from their bodies. Dr. Brukhonenko continued his work and began working towards the macabre. His lab began working with the severed head and was able to maintain an animal conscious for short periods of time and “revive” the organisms.
The work was documented in the 1940’s film “Experiments in the Revival of Organisms”. On the tape, you can see an assortment of Russian nurses as well as numerous dogs in various stages of his experimentation, the best-known scene being his presentation of the severed dog head. The audience sees a severed canine head on an operating table a system of Dr. Brukhoenenko’s tubes pumping oxygenated blood into the head. As technicians probe and prod the head with instruments, the audience observes the head and its reflexes.
As the film continues, we observe a dog euthanized and soon brought back using the autojector - the device supposedly supplied the dog head with “all that was needed for life.”
Many argue the film to be completely fraudulent; others argue the opposite that this was the work of a renown surgeon. The film itself leaves more questions than answers.
Fake or not, another Russian "mad scientist" Vladimir Demikhov conducted dog head transplants during the 1950s, resulting in two-headed dogs, and this ultimately led to the head transplants in monkeys – experiments carried out by American neurosurgeon Robert J. White.