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American Heart Association council honors Harvard investigator for discovery of new life-saving heart attack treatment


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DALLAS, Nov. 18 – The American Heart Association’s Council on Clinical Cardiology presented its James B. Herrick Award for outstanding achievement in clinical cardiology to Marc Alan Pfeffer, M.D., Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School “for acclaimed research showing how cardiac muscle damage occurs during a heart attack, a discovery that led to new life-saving treatment.”

Pfeffer, Dzau Professor of Medicine at Harvard and senior physician in the Cardiovascular Division of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, received the award during the association’s Scientific Sessions 2013 at the Dallas Convention Center.  Council Chairman Richard L. Page, M.D., presented the award, a medallion and citation.  Pfeffer also delivered the Herrick Lecture.

“Marc Pfeffer is a world leader in providing evidence to improve the care of patients with coronary artery disease, heart attack and diabetes,” Page said.  “He has made key discoveries that have resulted in an improved prognosis for untold numbers of individuals with these disorders.”

Foremost was a finding with his late wife, Dr. Janice Pfeffer, that cardiac muscle enlargement and weakening after a heart attack could be attenuated by medical therapy, Page said.  “This led to a breakthrough trial that showed for the first time that angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors can prolong survival and reduce incidence of heart failure after an attack.”

This finding “transformed the treatment of heart disease worldwide and is considered one of the most significant cardiology discoveries of the last 50 years,” said Page.

“Pfeffer’s body of work has helped establish, more than that of any other individual, the value of inhibiting the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone enzyme system in preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases.”

The award honors the pioneer physician who wrote the first description of coronary disease.


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