Awards - Outstanding Achievement Awards - Lifetime Achievement

ISHLT Lifetime Achievement Award

The ISHLT Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed to individuals whose lifetime body of work made a significant contribution toward improving the care of patients with advanced heart or lung disease. This award has now been replaced by the ISHLT Award of Distinction.

Bob Kormos and Jean Kantrowitz2016 RECIPIENT:

The 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed to Drs. Adrian and Jean Kantrowitz during the Awards Presentation of the Plenary Session at the ISHLT 36th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions on Saturday, April 30, 2016 by ISHLT Past President Robert Kormos, MD.

Dr Adrian Kantrowitz was born in New York City on October 4, 1918, to Bernard Kantrowitz, a physician, and his wife Rose, who designed costumes for the Ziegfeld Follies. He published over 200 articles and numerous book chapters during his long career, and received more than 20 patents on his inventions. He served as president of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO) (1968-1969) and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from them, a Teacher's Award, and the Dr. Barney Clark Award and he holds several honorary doctorates.

Adrian KantrowitzAdrian received his MD in 1943 from the Long Island College of Medicine and after completing a nine-month internship at the Jewish Hospital of Brooklyn served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps as a battalion surgeon and was discharged as a major in 1946. After finishing an Assistant Residency in Surgery at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York he completed a Cardiovascular Research Fellow, and Chief Residency in Surgery at Montefiore Hospital in New York in 1950.  After a chance meeting on a Brooklyn Street and a light green DeSoto convertible ride later and the team of Adrian and Jean was formed in 1948 when he married Jean Rosensaft. His early carrer rose rapidly over the enxt 5 years when he became Director of Cardiovascular Surgery and Director of Surgical Research at Maimonides Hospital (later Maimonides Medical Center) in New York and eventually Director of Surgery by 1964 a position he held until 1970.

His research an innovative strength was prescient and he developed a Left Heart Bypass system in animals to do Mitral Surgery and made the first film of a functioning Mitral Valve in  1951 (2 years before the H-L machine). He and his bother Arthur published the concept of diastolic augmentation in 1953, and together they developed the first left ventricular assist device in the mid 1960ís. Adrian successfully implanted a ventricular assist device in 1971 in a man suffering from chronic heart failure who returned home as the worldís first recipient of a left ventricular assist device intended to remain permanently in the body using an inflatable aortic patch that provided diastolic augmentation. Of course his greatest contribution was proving the viability of the Intra-aortic balloon pump as a support device in 1973.

Adrian and Jean Kantrowitz

Between 1962 and 1966 his team performed over 400 canine heart transplants (without cardiopulmonary bypass and while Christian Barnard did the first Human adult orthotropic heart transplant on Dec 3, 1967, Adrian performed the second heart transplant in the World and the first in the United States on Dec 6 1967.

Jean Kantrowitz, who received her Masterís in Public Health and Accounting and was a key NIH site visitor in the 1980ís, was instrumental in focusing petitions for federal coverage of cardiac transplantation at Stanford University.  She supported Adrian in his vision in the lab to his translational work with the IABP and prepared grants and budgets and managed the business aspects of Adrianís research through her skills in office management. She continues to attend ISHLT meetings to this day despite her age of 93 and helps to manage a company called LVAD technologies which is making a platform technology for percutaneous catheters and drivelines.

Adrian died on November 14, 2008 at age 90, from complications of heart failure. One of his most memorable quotes is ďIf youíre going to do something new, it isnít new and it isnít good until they say youíre out of your mind. . . .Ē.

Kantrowitz Team


Sir Terence English, KBE, FRCS

Sharon Hunt, MD

Margaret Billingham, MD

Sir Magdi Yacoub, MD

Keith Reemtsma, MD

Norman Shumway, MD

Text SizeIncrease Font SizeDecrease Font Size