Eugene Braunwald, MD, MACC, a Lifetime of Achievements and a Legend of Cardiology

Profile | Eugene Braunwald, MD, MACC, published his first major cardiology paper in 1954. Braunwald has over 1,000 publications in peer-reviewed journals. Science Watch states that he is the most frequently cited author in the field of cardiology.

Eugene Braunwald, MD, MACC
Eugene Braunwald, MD, MACC

Braunwald was born in Vienna, Austria. In 1938 he and his family fled Austrian Nazism, ultimately settling in the U.S. Braunwald graduated from New York University Medical School. During his medical school years he rotated through the Bellevue Cardiology Clinic, where his mentor Ludwig Eichna, MD, inspired him to enter cardiology. Braunwald completed post-graduate training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. As the first chief of the Cardiology Branch and clinical director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, his early research focused on the factors influencing cardiac function.

In those years, his laboratory also did landmark research that identified hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as a clinical entity. In 1968, he became the founding chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. His laboratory expanded its focus to include myocardial stunning, ventricular remodeling, and salvage of ischemic myocardium following coronary occlusion. In 1972, he moved to Boston as the chair of the Department of Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and was named the Distinguished Hersey Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. While at Harvard, he founded and chaired the TIMI Study Group. Among the many achievements of this group was the PROVE-IT TIMI 22 Trial, which demonstrated the benefit of intensive reduction of LDL by statin therapy. Braunwald remains active in the TIMI group defining new agents in the management of acute coronary syndromes.

Braunwald’s career in cardiology came full circle in the summer of 1995 when, 57 years after his emigration, he returned to receive an honorary Medical Doctorate from the University of Vienna. Braunwald has served as editor for 12 editions of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. He is the founding editor of Braunwald’s Heart Disease which along with Willis Hurst’s The Heart, are widely viewed as the premier texts in cardiology. The living Nobel Prize winners in medicine voted Braunwald as the person who has contributed the most to cardiology in recent years. Among many awards, he was the third recipient of the ACC’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

The profile above of cardiovascular giant, Eugene Braunwald, MD, MACC, is excerpted from the forthcoming book The Past is Prologue: The American College of Cardiology — 65 Years of Cardiovascular Innovation, authored by James S. Forrester, MD, FACC, and John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC. The book will be available at ACC.14 in Washington, DC.

Keywords: Acute Coronary Syndrome, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (U.S.), Cardiology, Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic, Schools, Medical, Ventricular Remodeling, Myocardial Stunning, Coronary Occlusion, Research, Cardiology Magazine, ACC Publications

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