ABSTRACT Similarly as in all war-ravaged countries of Europe, in Czechoslovakia, too, cardiosurgery did not begin being systematically developed until after 1945. Patent ductus arteriosus was first treated surgically in this country in 1947, the year 1951 saw the launching of surgical therapy for mitral stenosis (commissurotomy on the closed heart), 1955 - the introduction into clinical practice of open-heart surgery for simple heart defects (DSS, pulmonary artery stenosis and aortic stenosis) with the patient in 28 degrees C hypothermia and with the blood circulation arrested for brief periods of time. In the years 1958-1959, four Czechoslovak cardiosurgical centres began to provide surgical treatment for congenital and acquired heart defects in extracorporeal circulation. Considering the war-inflicted material and personnel shortcomings prevailing in those times, Czechoslovak cardiosurgery managed relatively soon to attain the standard of cardiosurgery of the western countries, thus testifying to the viability of the country's post-war health care services. At present, there are six cardiosurgical centres in this country systematically engaged in the surgical treatment of congenital and acquired heart defects and providing the diagnosis and surgical correction of heart defects on a professional scale equal to that in countries with advanced health care systems. While the care provided at Czechoslovak cardiosurgical centres is comparable in terms of quality, the productivity of those centres leaves much to be desired. Ways and means of coping early with this inadequacy are looked for with the help of the Ministry of Health.