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Biographical entry Muntarbhorn, Smarn (1914 - 2001)

MRCS 1941; FRC200S 1945; MB BS London 1941; DTM&H Liverpool 1941; FACCP 1951.

20 November 1914
Surathani, Thailand
Cardiac surgeon


Smarn Muntarbhorn, the father of cardiac surgery in Thailand, was the first Thai to become a Fellow of the College. He was born in Surathani, Thailand, on 20 November 1914. His father, Wan Muntarbhorn, was a book-store owner and druggist. His mother was a Miss Chuan. He matriculated from Suan Kularb College in Bangkok and was then awarded a King's scholarship from Thailand to study abroad. He attended Manchester Grammar School and then went to Guy's Hospital to study medicine. There he won a scholarship in confined science and the Golding-Bird gold medal and prize in 1940. On qualifying, he was house surgeon at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, in 1943, remaining there as resident surgical officer for the ensuing year, serving in the Emergency Medical Service for three years altogether. He was influenced by Hedley Atkins and Heneage Ogilvie.

On his return to Thailand, he started working at Siriraj Hospital, specialising in cardiothoracic surgery. His first cardiac catheterisation was in 1946 and in 1950 he performed the first pneumonectomy in Thailand. He founded the cardiopulmonary unit in Chulalongkorn Hospital. He did not confine his attention to cardiothoracic surgery, but performed the first operation for a prolapsed intervertebral disc, writing up his first 39 cases in 1953. He was awarded a royal honorary doctorate by the King of Thailand. He was President of the meeting of the International College of Surgeons in Thailand in from 1967 to 1969 and was President of the American College of Chest Physicians in Thailand from 1960 to 1971.

He married Niramol Dhonavanik in 1950 and they had two sons, Kanit (who qualified at Guy's) and Vitit, and one daughter, Sirabhorn. He was a keen photographer. He died in 2001.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England