The mission of the Saint Louis University Division of Cardiology is to provide excellence in three major areas including clinical care of the patient with cardiovascular disease, training of the next generation of cardiovascular physicians, and research to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
Our physicians all serve as faculty at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and are members of SLUCare, the physician practice of Saint Louis University.
The Division of Cardiology at Saint Louis University dates back to 1948. In its inception, a dedicated section of cardiology was established to focus on the teaching of cardiovascular disease. In 1951, the first cardiac catheterization lab in the United States west of the Mississippi River was opened at St. Louis University Hospital. Shortly after, in 1956, the first open heart operation in St. Louis was performed at Saint Louis University. This was followed by the first prosthetic valve implanted in St. Louis in 1962, the first cardiac pacemaker implanted in St. Louis in 1965, and the first use of coronary bypass in St. Louis in 1969. In 1971, the first heart transplant in the Midwest was performed at St. Louis University Hospital.
Following this tremendous time of innovation within the Midwest and the St. Louis region, the Division of Cardiology focused on developing excellence in noninvasive imaging by establishing one of the first echocardiographic laboratories in the nation. Our catheterization lab played a vital role in the development of coronary angioplasty, balloon valvuloplasty and the understanding of invasive hemodynamic assessment of the cardiac patient.
During the 1980s, the faculty within the Division vigorously investigated the ability of Doppler echocardiography to mimic invasive hemodynamic parameters and cardiac disease. Transesophageal echocardiography was established as a significant mode of investigating cardiac structures, especially valvular heart disease.
The use of the Doppler flow wire in the cath lab was validated and the lab continues to pioneer the use of physiologic coronary stenosis assessment today. Furthermore, there was a significant effort among many of the faculty investigating the importance of preventive cardiac care.
Today, the Division of Cardiology builds upon its rich tradition with an energetic faculty focused on patient care and teaching.