6 Heart Surgeons Who Changed Cardiology Forever.


Cardiologist is a physician who specializes in the diagnoses and the treatment of heart related diseases and disorders. Cardiologists all over the world are tremendously valued and treasured, as they play a significant role in the healthcare system. Cardiology is perhaps one of the most miraculous inventions in the field of medical science that has saved the lives of millions of people suffering from heart related problems. The field of cardiology originated around 1628, when English physician William Harvey came out with his publication on the anatomy and the physiology of the heart. In 1938, American cardiologist, Robert E. Gross performed the very first heart surgery in the world. Later, in the year 1952, the world’s first successful open-heart surgery was performed by American cardiologist, F. John Lewis.

Towards the end of the 20th century, the field was enriched with many innovative and improved diagnostic tools and the treatment opportunities expanded. Today, being a cardiologist is one of the most rewarding, satisfying and prestigious professions in the world. There are several prominent cardiologists all across the globe, who have left indelible mark in the field of medical science and the society as a whole. Here is a list of famous cardiologists with their biographies that include trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history.

Adrian Kantrowitz Adrian Kantrowitz

He was an American cardiologist who performed the world’s first pediatric heart transplant. NATIONALITY American BORN ON 04 October 1918 DIED AT AGE 90

Dr. Adrian Kantrowitz was an eminent surgeon and a pioneer in the field of pediatric cardiology. He and his team of surgeons performed the world’s first pediatric heart transplant at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn on December 6, 1967. This surgery happened in America just three days after the first ever human heart transplant took place in South Africa, performed by Dr. Christiaan Barnard. Thus Kantrowitz is credited with performing the world’s second ever human heart transplant. The fact that he became one of the greatest ever cardiologists of his time would not have come as a surprise to those who knew him.

According to his mother, little Adrian knew from the age of three that he wanted to be a doctor. After completing his medical studies he served in the Army for a couple of years before delving deep into the field of cardiology. He had spent years studying the human heart and had performed several heart transplants on dogs before performing the heart surgery that would usher in a new era in human organ transplants. Working along with his brother Arthur, he also invented the intra-aortic balloon pump which served as the precursor to the implantable pacemaker.

Christiaan Barnard Christiaan Barnard

He is one name that we associate with the first ever heart transplant. FAMOUS AS Cardiac Surgeon NATIONALITY South African BORN ON 08 November 1922 AD

It was on the historical third day of December in the year 1967 when Christiaan Barnard added a new glorious chapter to the pages of medical history with his first human-to-human heart transplant. It was his deep fascination and his sincere personal drive that led him to accomplish this groundbreaking surgery. Born and brought up in South Africa, Barnard hailed from a Dutch family and had an exceptional academic career to boast of. His interests in medicine were dedicated to tubercular meningitis in which he wrote a doctoral thesis in the year 1953. After he was transferred to the historic operation site, Groote Schuur Hospital, he developed his interests in surgery.

Barnard was an avant-garde who is credited for conducting and successfully accomplishing human heart transplant. His outspoken talents have made him one among the most significant and influential people in medicine. Barnard raised the bar by conducting a daring experiment at a time when such ideas were unheard of and deemed as dangerous and this achievement brought to the fore the true magnitude of his talent and passion. In his journey, he continued to astound people with major and remarkable achievements.

Clarence Walton Lillehei Clarence Walton Lillehei,

A pioneer in cardiology, was the “Father of Open Heart Surgery”. FAMOUS AS Pioneer of Open-Heart Surgery NATIONALITY American BORN ON 23 October 1918 AD DIED ON 05 July 1999 AD

054b297b2478d6942e3a657381e450a0.jpgA pioneer in open heart surgery, Clarence Walton Lillehei was an American cardiac surgeon who was part of the team that performed the world’s first successful open-heart operation. Open heart surgery, as commonplace as it is today, was an unimaginable concept just six decades ago. Even up until the 1950s, certain cardiac defects which are fully treatable today were fatal. But thanks to the pioneering work of Dr. Lillehei who designed medical devices that made it possible to support the patient’s blood circulation while the heart was opened and operated upon, many formerly untreatable heart conditions are now easily treatable. Even as a young boy, Clarence was very bright and talented. The son of a dentist, his first career choice was to follow in his father’s footsteps though he later changed his mind to become a medical doctor.

 He received his medical training from the University of Minnesota and completed his residency under the guidance of Dr Owen Wangensteen who had mentored many a great surgeons. Lillehei was on his way to becoming a brilliant cardiologist when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and given a 10% survival rate. The brave man did not let the devastating news deter his spirit and courageously fought the disease to become one of the foremost cardiologists of all times.

Denton Cooley Denton Cooley

is the American cardiologist who performed the world’s first implantation of an artificial heart. NATIONALITY American BORN ON 22 August 1920 AD AGE 95 Years

American cardiologist Denton Cooley is the surgeon who performed the world’s first implantation of a total artificial heart. During the 1960s the techniques of human heart transplant were still in their infancy and at such a time he implanted an artificial heart into a patient when a real human heart was unavailable. This artificial heart helped to keep the patient alive for the 64 hours before a donor heart became available. As a heart surgeon he worked closely with the brilliant senior cardiologist, Michael DeBakey, but the fact that Cooley performed the artificial heart implantation without DeBakey’s supervision created a rift between the two. As a young boy Cooley wanted to be a dentist but changed his mind later on as he grew fascinated with the human heart.

He studied medicine at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore where he found a mentor in the experienced doctor, Dr. Alfred Blalock. Having grown up with an alcoholic father, Cooley found in Dr. Blalock a father figure he had sorely missed as a youngster. Under his guidance the hitherto shy and insecure boy thrived and went on to become one of the 20th century pioneers in cardiac surgery. In spite of his hectic schedule he remains a devoted family man and loves to play golf in his free time.

Magdi Yacoub Magdi Yacoub

is one of the world’s most respected cardiac surgeons. ALSO KNOWN AS Dr. Magdi Yacoub, Sir Magdi Habib Yacoub, Sir Magdi Habib Yacoub, FRS NATIONALITY Egyptian Famous BORN ON 16 November 1935 AD AGE 80 Years 34638e89fa823e14a02ade890f009642.jpg

Magdi Yacoub is one of the world’s most respected cardiac surgeons. Born in Egypt, he decided early on that he wanted to become a doctor and help others. He studied medicine at Cairo University and thereafter moved to the U.K. Most of his innovations and pioneering work in the field of heart surgery came during his stint in the hospitals in U.K. He is well known for his innovations in tissue engineering, myocardial regeneration, and transplant immunology. He has not only been a top-rated heart surgeon, but has also given back to the next generation of doctors as a professor at the prestigious Imperial College in London.

He has written over 1,000 articles and co-authored several books on the heart surgery techniques he has developed. He has also founded a children’s charity called ‘Chain of Hope’, in order to help children in war-torn and developing countries receive much needed cardiac care. When not practicing medicine, he likes to spend time with his family which includes his wife Marianne, and their three grown children.

Michael DeBakey 

was a prominent American cardiologist and innovator. NATIONALITY American BORN ON 07 September 1908 AD DIED ON 11 July 2008 AD


A pioneer in surgery, American cardiovascular surgeon Michael DeBakey was a physician, scientist, and innovator, all rolled into one. He is the inventor of the Roller-pump that makes it possible to provide continuous supply of blood during operations. This invention was a milestone in cardiac surgery, as open-heart surgery would have been impossible without the use of this pump. Even as a young boy he knew that he wanted to be in the medical profession. Curious and intelligent from an early age, he had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and loved to invent things.

This innate curiosity in him led him to invent many surgical devices later in his life as a medical doctor. Over a long career spanning over seven decades, Dr. DeBakey revolutionized the field of cardiology in ways too numerous to count. During his stint with the army, he helped to develop the mobile army surgical hospital (MASH) units which facilitated the fast transportation of wounded soldiers to surgical hospitals. Often regarded as one of the greatest surgeons of his time, he is credited to have performed over 60,000 operations. He was also famous for being called to treat world leaders like President Boris N. Yeltsin of Russia.



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