How years of methodical work, intuitive flashes in seemingly unrelated fields, and serendipitous discoveries all come together to create one solid advance in medical treatment. Comroe, director of the National Pulmonary Faculty Training Center at UCal, San Francisco, writes from special knowledge about developments in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and high blood pressure; but the complex, often haphazard process he describes is representative of other medical (and scientific) advances. Breakthroughs don't just happen; they don't result from the work of one individual; and ""neither the government nor voluntary health agencies can order up specific medical discoveries on a specific schedule."" (Witness the National Heart Institute's 1960s drive for an artificial heart within six years.) Rather, progress is the result of myriad contributions from unexpected sources--in the case of surgery on blood vessels: ""an embroideress, a 'lace lady,' a cardiovascular physiologist, and most unexpected of all, a surgical genius."" Each is a link in the story of how microsurgery techniques were developed, and none is more important than another. Microsurgery is just one strand, moreover, in the refinement of heart surgery techniques. Comroe also touches on artificial organs (heart, lung, kidney), new diagnostic procedures, and drug research--with up-to-date information on these newsworthy topics. But his particular contribution is to give a clear, insider's perspective of the complex interlock.