Sharing a Piece of History

Drs. Daniel Tang, Szabolcs Szentpetery and Timothy Wolfgang

On May 24, a group of current and retired physicians gave a historical grand rounds presentation on the 50 years of heart transplantation at VCU Health. The program focused on the work of Dr. Richard Lower and how the heart transplant program began at the Medical College of Virginia, now VCU Medical Center. About 250 guests attended the event.

“It was standing room only in the Egyptian Building auditorium,” said Dr. Michael Hess, one of the guests, who also appeared in a video interview with Dr. George Vetrovec. “The event was designed to inspire our students and demonstrate the high quality of our cardiac transplant program.”

Drs. Szabolcs Szentpetery and Tim Wolfgang also shared their memories of working with Dr. Lower in the program’s early days. Dr. Keyur Shah, one of the hosts along with Drs. Daniel Tang and Richard Cooke, gave opening and closing remarks. He observed how many of the clinical discoveries made 50 years ago had led to further developments in the field, and presented a chart showing that cardiac transplantation one year survival rates have improved from 41% in the early era to 97% in recent years.

Guests included faculty, fellows, residents and alumni. “It was a multi-generational event. The room was filled with people who over many years had built and sustained the heart program at VCU Health,” said Shah. “There was a real sense of pride about our continuation of the program’s advanced heart failure and transplant research.”

To see the videotaped interview, please visit

From L to R: Drs. Daniel Tang, Szabolcs Szentpetery and Timothy Wolfgang