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Remembering László Szekeres

Dr. László Szekeres

With profound sadness, we heard of the death on Jan. 9, 2012 of Dr. László Szekeres from Szeged, Hungary. Dr. Naranjan Dhalla wrote the following to his colleagues:

Prof . Drs . Andras Varro, Agnes Vegh, and Julius Gy . Papp
Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy
University of Szeged, Dom ter, 12, H-6720, Hungary

Dear Profs. Varro, Vegh, and Papp:

It is with great regret that I received your e-mail indicating that Prof. Laszlo Szekeres passed away. He was a true friend who over the years helped me in promoting cardiovascular activities all over Eastern Europe and this sad new is painful indeed. He was a superior scientist, an extraordinary scholar and great human being, and will be missed by the international cardiovascular community for a long time. On behalf of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences, may I request you to convey our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Szekeres.

Just before Dr. Szekeres passed away, Dr. Dhalla had received an optimistic and positive statement from Dr. Szekeres which we felt it was appropriate to share as his last message:

Dear Friends!

I send you my ‘Seasons Greetings’ a bit late. The reason why is the following: I am pleased to tell that I have just recently come home from Bonn (Germany), after a successful TAVI (Trans-Catheter Aortic Valve

Implantation) repairing my severe aortic stenosis due to extreme calcification of the aortic valves. I stayed two weeks in Bonn, accompanied by my daughter Susie. (Later my elder daughter Julie joined her). I have chosen Bonn because the leading cardiologist of the Bonn Gemeinde-krankenhaus Kreislaufzentrum: Ulrich Gerckens so far conducted 600 successful interventions in otherwise inoperable patients of the 80-85 years age group.

The point of the procedure is briefly: A special (valve core) catheter (in its head a compressed annular frame containing the porcine valves) is introduced under fluoroscopic control via the right femoral artery to the aorta and pushed forward until the site of the original calcified valves. Here a pacemaker induced short tachycardia and balloon inflation elicits deployment of the annulus with the porcine valves, pressing the original calcified valves to the aortic wall. The procedure is performed in local anaesthesia.

The operation described above in keywords seems to be much simpler as it is in reality. The main difficulty is the careful selection of the catheter size in order to fit the aortic diameter as well as its exact positioning at the level of the original valves. In addition there is a high risk of cerebral emboli of calcified plaques drifted by the catheter from the aortic wall. The intervention itself does not last longer than 30-45 minutes but the preliminary preparations take about two hours. (3 catheters are introduced into the central vein and left radial artery is used for direct measurement of the blood pressure. A bladder catheter is inserted as well). In addition catheters were inserted into both femoral arteries during the intervention. I looked probably like my instrumented rabbits and dogs in my earlier animal experiments. Is it perhaps their late revenge?

Excellent care and accommodations, detailed and peer discussions with the leading cardiologists, as well as daily visits of my daughters made my stay in the hospital pleasant and comfortable. The homeward journey was a little bit strenuous but now I am all right.

I thank you for your friendship and knowing that my letter will arrive late, I hope that you had a Merry Christmas and I wish you also on behalf of Ibolya a very happy and successful New Year and good health above all!

László Szekeres

With over half a century of experience researching cardiovascular disease, Dr . László Szekeres had the distinguished title of Professor Emeritus of the Institute of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in the Medical Faculty of the University of Szeged, Hungary . In his early days as a scientist, he received numerous scholarships and grants, and studied as a “Riker” fellow at the University of Oxford . In addition, he was elected twice as a member of the Organizing Committees of the II (Prague 1962) and VII (Paris 1978) World Congress of the International Union of Pharmacology (IUPHAR) . From 1967-1991 he served as a Professor and Director of the Department of Pharmacology, University Medical School of Szeged, during which from 1968-1977 he was the Pro-rector . Dr . Szekeres studied various aspects of heart disease, including metabolic changes as a result of hypoxia and ischaemia, researching mechanisms to prevent sudden cardiac death due to acute myocardial infarction, and the effects of prostacyclin and 7-oxo-prostacyclin on angina pectoris as endogenous cardioprotective components . However, his most significant contributions to the field of cardiovascular research stems from his work on arrhythmias . He was the first to outline a comprehensive analysis of the mode of action of anti-arrhythmic drugs, elaborating on several “in vivo” models of experimental arrhythmias and contributing to the elucidation of they occur . Throughout his career he received numerous honourary degrees and memberships including, ‘Doctor Honoris Causae’ from both the Jagellonian University of Cracow and Karl Eberhard Universitaet, as well as being an Honourary member of the Czechoslovak Pharmacological Society and the Polish Physiological Society . He has served on numerous editorial boards including the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, European Journal of Pharmacology, Canadian Journal of Cardiology, Journal de Pharmacologie (Paris), and Acta Medica Hungarica . One of his crowning achievements, however, was his establishment of the East-European Subsection of ISHR where he served as president from 1984-1993, being a crucial player in promoting this subsection’s joining to the European section of ISHR . He accomplished this while serving as a Councilor of ISHR from 1983-1992 . He was also the founder of the “Szeged School of Cardiovascular Pharmacology” which is now an internationally renowned cardiovascular research center . He has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Bronze Medal of the Helsinki University, Hungarian State Gold Medal of the “Order of Labour”, two awards from the Hungarian Ministry of Education and Culture for high standard textbook and monograph, the first “Gábor György” Award and Medal of the Hungarian Society of Cardiology as well as the Medal of Merit of ISHR and the first “Howard Morgan Award for Distinguished Achievements in Cardiovascular Sciences” from the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences . He was also an invited speaker to numerous congresses and symposia through Europe and the world including Canada, US, Japan, Israel, India, and China . In summary, he published 295 full text articles in peer-reviewed journals and books, 76 book chapters, 304 abstracts, and edited 7 books . In addition to his meritorious contributions to the field of heart research, where he was regarded as a sophisticated, intelligent speaker and an amiable gentleman, he was also an accomplished painter .

The Academy extends our deepest sympathy to his wife Ibolya Pamuk and his two daughters: Julia Barthó-Szekeres MD. PhD. DSc., Professor and Head of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pécs (born 1950) and Zsuzsa Szekeres MD, pediatrician in Budapest (born 1954).


World-renowned Research Centre renamed

St-Boniface Hospital honoured Winnipeg visionary and philanthropist Paul Albrechtsen by renaming its Research Centre the St-Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre. The Centre is the global headquarters of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences where our Dr. Naranjan Dhalla was the founder of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences.

He was interviewed recently by the American Physiological Society's for their "Living History Program.

Click here to enjoy


3rd Harold Buchwald Lecture by Dr. Sharon Mulvagh, Mayo Clinic, Rochester


Click for An Important Conversation About Heart Health between Dr. Mulvagh and Marlo Thomas

If you missed the MANSHIELD CONSTRUCTION HEART HEALTH LUNCHEON featuring the 5th Harold Buchwald Lecture on October 3, 2013, please Click here for Dr Yusuf's extraordinary talk

Dr. Robert Roberts made a very special talk as the first Yetta and Jack Levit Distinguished Lecture. Click here to enjoy Dr. Roberts ' talk. On Nov. 2/15, Dr. John Cairns second Distinguished Lecture was extraordinary Click here for the lecture.

2nd Harold Buchwald Heart Health Lecture Sept. 29, 2009 ... an incredible talk by Dr. Jay Cohn which inspired Ivan Berkowitz to pursue a number of options which led to Dr. Duhamel's HAPPY Hearts Project. Click here to watch video

Read the latest bulletin from St. Boniface - excellent reports on IACS Fellows Drs. Menkis, Pierce and Kirshenbaum - great heart health advice!