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European Society of Cardiology

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Tributes paid following recent death of Professor Helmut Drexler

Professor Drexler was an active member of the European Society of Cardiology and sat on the board of the Heart Failure Association (HFA). Although Heart Failure was his main passion, Professor Drexler was also an important figure in stem-cell research. He was a principle investigator in the BOOST study and the CADS trial – a comparison of Captopril and Digoxin in patients with LV – dysfunction after myocardial infarction.

Professor Ajay Shah MD, FMedSci of King’s College, London worked with Professor Drexler at the HFA.

“Helmut Drexler was an inspirational clinician scientist who was an outstanding role model for all cardiologists aiming to achieve this difficult combination of scientific rigour, clinical excellence and innovation.

“He made major contributions to the field of heart failure internationally while at a European level, amongst other achievements, he was instrumental in developing the ESC Heart Failure Association (HFA) which has grown to be the largest and most successful Association in the ESC.

“In addition to his substantial scientific achievements and leadership skills, he was a very kind individual who always had time for useful advice or some humour to calm a difficult situation!  It has been my privilege to have known him for over 20 years not only as a colleague but also a friend and his untimely loss is deeply felt,” he said.

Heart-failure expert Professor John McMurray of the University of Glasgow, Scotland also sat on the HFA board with Prof Drexler, whose work transformed the Association, he said:

“Helmut Drexler’s premature death is obviously a huge loss to European and World Cardiology. He was a brilliant scientist who had really pioneered translational research in cardiovascular medicine but at the same time was a colleague with a great love of life and sense of humour!

“Like so many things he did, Helmut made Heart Failure in Europe better. Along with Dirk Brutsaert he transformed our Working Group on Heart failure into the Heart Failure Association, the ESC’s largest Association. Our spring congress was placed on an annual footing and is now the biggest specialist heart failure meeting in the World.

“Equally importantly, Helmut initiated a second annual, winter, meeting with a focus on basic and translational research. This allowed Helmut to indulge in another passion, skiing, as well as develop what has become a superb scientific forum featuring the highest quality basic and translational research in heart failure in Europe, if not the world. These are just two examples, from the area of heart failure, where Helmut’s vision, drive, motivational and organizational skills achieved so much. He will be sadly missed by all of us.”

Professor Drexler was director of the Department of Cardiology and Angiology at Hannover Medical School. He was also on the editorial boards of a number of journals, including the European Heart Journal, Journal of American College of Cardiology and had recently agreed to be the European editor of Circulation.

Published on: October 14, 2009

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