Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pioneering Heart Transplant Surgeon Dies of Heart Failure

I guess also being 90 was a complicating factor as well. A man who was a giant in medicine.

RIP, Adrian Kantrowicz.
Adrian Kantrowitz, the pioneering cardiac surgeon who developed lifesaving medical implants and performed the first human heart transplant in the United States, has died. He was 90.

Kantrowitz died Friday in Ann Arbor from complications of heart failure.

In 1967, Kantrowitz performed the first human heart transplant in the United States, three days after the world's first transplant was performed in South Africa.

But the transplant, on an infant who died several hours later, was only a small part of his life's work to solve the problem of heart failure, said Kantrowitz's wife and colleague of many decades, Jean Kantrowitz.

Adrian Kantrowitz invented and for decades continued to improve the left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, which would later lend its name to his Detroit-based research company, L-VAD Technology Inc. The device is designed to be permanently implanted in patients with otherwise-terminal heart failure, helping their hearts circulate blood and allowing them to leave the hospital.

Kantrowitz also invented other lifesaving cardiac devices, including the intra-aortic balloon pump.

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