Famous American Cardiologists

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Every year, nearly 16.7 million people die of cardiovascular disease. The good news is many of the deaths caused due to cardiovascular disease can be averted. Wonder how? Well, heard of the age-old saying, "A stitch in time saves nine." Timely intervention and a routine heart checkup are all it takes to keep the heart alive and beating. Luckily, America has been home to some of world's best heart centers and some equally renowned cardiologists, who have pulled off live-saving feats in the operating table. Dr. Thomas Bashore, Dr. Raymond Gibbons, Dr. Nieca Goldberg, Dr. Jonathan Halperin, Dr. Steven Nissen, Dr. William O’Neill, Dr. Stuart Russell, Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum, Dr. Jonathan Tobias, and Dr. Gary Webb are just some of the new-age cardiovascular specialists who have carved a niche for themselves with their extensive and avant-garde research work. But these are not the only cardiac pioneers that America has produced. Acquaint yourselves with the timeline, trivia, and interesting facts on America's greatest cardiologists in their biographies covered below.
Vote for Your Favourite American Cardiologists
 1 
Denton Cooley
(American Heart and Cardiothoracic Surgeon Who Performed the First Implantation of a Total Artificial Heart)
Denton Cooley
5
Birthdate: August 22, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
Died: November 18, 2016

Denton Cooley was a heart and cardiothoracic surgeon. He is best known for performing the first implantation of a total artificial heart. He did his surgical training at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and later worked at Baylor College of Medicine. He founded The Texas Heart Institute and was a consultant at Texas Children's Hospital. 

 2 
Daniel Hale Williams
3
Birthdate: January 18, 1856
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: August 4, 1931

Daniel Hale Williams was a general surgeon known for performing the first documented, successful pericardium surgery in the US in 1893. Born to interracial parents, he faced numerous struggles in his journey to become a physician. He later founded the first non-segregated hospital in the United States, Chicago's Provident Hospital. He also founded a nursing school for African Americans. 

 3 
Michael DeBakey
(Cardiac Surgeon)
Michael DeBakey
3
Birthdate: September 7, 1908
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States
Died: July 11, 2008

Cardiac surgeon Michael DeBakey pioneered many treatments of cardiovascular ailments and also invented instruments such as the roller pump, later used for open-heart surgery procedures. He was also instrumental in developing MASH units and was awarded several prestigious awards, such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

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 4 
Robert Atkins
(American Physician and Cardiologist Best Known for the Atkins Diet)
Robert Atkins
3
Birthdate: October 17, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States
Died: April 17, 2003

Cardiologist Robert Coleman Atkins lent his name to the Atkins Diet, which promotes controlled carbohydrate consumption and eventually led to him being named the 2002 Time Person of the Year. Though he initially aspired to be a comedian, he later switched his focus to medicine and joined Cornell.

 5 
Regina Benjamin
(Surgeon General of the United States)
Regina Benjamin
3
Birthdate: October 26, 1956
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States

Famed for her dedicated service to underserved community in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, American physician Regina Mercia Benjamin held several important positions including that of the 18th Surgeon General of the United States. Throughout her career, she worked for the disadvantaged people, focusing on preventive health measures, mortgaging her home to rebuild Bayou La Batre Health Clinic after Hurricane Katrina.

 6 
Bernadine Healy
(American Cardiologist and the First Female Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH))
Bernadine Healy
2
Birthdate: August 4, 1944
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: August 6, 2011

Bernadine Healy created history by becoming the first woman to serve as the director of the National Institutes of Health. Apart from being a seasoned cardiologist, she had also taught medicine at institutes such as Johns Hopkins and had been the president of the American Red Cross and other non-profits.

 7 
Helen B. Taussig
(American Cardiologist Who Founded the Field of Pediatric Cardiology)
Helen B. Taussig
2
Birthdate: May 24, 1898
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 20, 1986
Helen B. Taussig is remembered as the founder of pediatric cardiology. Born to a Harvard professor father and a mother who was a women’s education pioneer, she was denied a Harvard seat for being a woman and thus studied medicine at Johns Hopkins. She pioneered the cure of the blue baby syndrome.
 8 
Eric Topol
(Cardiologist, Geneticist)
Eric Topol
0
Birthdate: June 26, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States

Renowned American cardiologist Eric Topol is the founder-director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. He is known for his pathbreaking research on genes that can be targeted for the prevention of heart diseases. He was also one of the first to question the safety factor of the medicine Vioxx.

 9 
Robert Lefkowitz
(American Physician and Biochemist, Best Known for His Discovery of 'G Protein-Coupled Receptors')
Robert Lefkowitz
2
Birthdate: April 15, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States

Born into a family of Polish immigrants, Robert Lefkowitz grew up to be a cardiologist and biochemist, and later taught at Duke University. He is best known for his research on the signal-receiving receptor molecules, such as the GPCRs, which eventually won him a Nobel Prize.

 10 
Clarence Walton Lillehei
(American Surgeon Who Pioneered Open-Heart Surgery)
Clarence Walton Lillehei
2
Birthdate: October 23, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Died: July 5, 1999

A pioneer of cross-circulation, Clarence Walton Lillehei successfully conducted cardiac surgeries by linking the circulatory systems of healthy people with those of his patients, thus eventually developing the open-heart surgery. Affectionately known as the King of Hearts, he won awards such as the Harvey Prize and the Lasker Award.

 11 
Paul Dudley White
(Physician, Cardiologist, University teacher)
Paul Dudley White
2
Birthdate: June 6, 1886
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Roxbury
Died: October 31, 1973

Paul Dudley White was inspired to take up medicine by his physician father and ended up graduating in medicine from Harvard. A pioneer of preventive medicine, he also contributed to the study of blood coagulation and published 700 articles. He was also a medical officer during World War I

 12 
George A. Sheehan
(Officer, Cardiologist)
George A. Sheehan
3
Birthdate: November 5, 1918
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: United States
Died: November 1, 1993

Apart from being a qualified doctor, George A. Sheehan has also gained fame as an author of books in running. Though he followed in his father’s footsteps to become a cardiologist, he later followed his early passion of track by writing bestsellers such as Running & Being.

 13 
Adrian Kantrowitz
(Cardiac Surgeon)
Adrian Kantrowitz
1
Birthdate: October 4, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York
Died: November 14, 2008

Adrian Kantrowitz was an American cardiac surgeon who attempted the world’s first pediatric heart transplant.  Although his initial interest was in neurosurgery, he later switched to cardiac surgery. He also invented the intra-aortic balloon pump, an easy-to-use device which helped to save millions of lives.

 14 
Meyer Friedman
(Cardiologist)
Meyer Friedman
1
Birthdate: July 13, 1910
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: United States
Died: April 27, 2001

Along with fellow cardiologist Ray H. Rosenman, Meyer Friedman identified Type-A behavior and discovered a link between Type-A people and heart disease. They noticed that the chairs used by heart patients appeared to have more worn-out upholstery, as such patients fidgeted more than others. He also penned over 500 articles on heart disease.

 15 
Paul Zoll
(Cardiologist)
Paul Zoll
1
Birthdate: July 15, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: January 5, 1999
The pioneer of the artificial cardiac pacemaker and defibrillator, American cardiologist Paul Zoll revolutionized medical science and prevented life-threatening consequences of heart ailments. He had been an army doctor during World War II. To his patients, he was a keen listener who made an effort to understand their health issues.
 16 
Robert A. Bruce
(Cardiologist)
Robert A. Bruce
2
Birthdate: November 20, 1916
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: United States
Died: February 12, 2004

Popularly known as the father of exercise cardiology, Robert A. Bruce was the man behind the Bruce Protocol, a diagnostic test used to monitor heart function. He was associated with the medical school of the University of Washington and was one of the major figures of the Seattle Heart Watch program.