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Guest postsInnovationThe Bill Mapleson Centre

The Bill Mapleson Centre

16 May 2014

Since it’s establishment in 1947 when Professor William W. Mushin became Professor of Anaesthesia, the Department of Anaesthetics at Cardiff has been at the forefront of innovation in anaesthesia, giving it’s name to many inventions and developments.  Many of these inventions can by viewed in the online Mushin Museum archive ( curated and archived by Dr Peter Jones and Dr Danielle Huckle.

No history of the department would be complete without mentioning Professor Bill Mapleson, who joined the developing department in 1952 as a lecturer.  Bill joined with a degree in Physics and no experience with the emerging speciality of anaesthesia, but he would be crucial in the development of what we now recognise as the scientific basis of anaesthesia, producing many key publications that have been widely cited.  These include an analysis of the semi-closed breathing systems used at the time, pharmacokinetics of inhaled anaesthetic gases, the development of physiological analogues as well as many other important articles.

A new collaboration between Cardiff University and the global medical products company Flexicare  will be opened in Mountain Ash in the Cynon Valley on the 22nd May.  This venture builds upon the reputation for innovation in the department of anaesthetics, and it is therefore fitting that it bears the name of one of it’s most important innovators.  The Bill Mapleson Centre will be a focus for the future work of the department in education, research and the development and testing of anaesthetic and airway equipment.

Brian Jenkins