Imagine a world free of cardiovascular disease.
The numbers are astonishing. No other disease of any kind afflicts as many people. Despite great advancements in prevention and treatment, heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the world, and it causes half of all the deaths in the United States. The faces of those with heart disease are highly diverse and encompass every age and race. These are the faces of your friends, neighbors, coworkers, relatives and loved ones. But you—and they—may not even know it, because heart disease is a silent killer.
There is an urgent need in our country and in our world to address this epidemic. At the Lillehei Heart Institute, we have a bold plan to eradicate heart disease from our state, our country and our world.
A clear plan of action to cure heart disease.
- Detect disease at its earliest stages
- Stop the progression of disease as early as possible
- Educate the public on ways to prevent heart disease and encourage preventive care
- Eradicate congenital causes of heart disease
- Develop cures in the treatment of established heart disease
Mission / Vision
Mission / Vision
To serve as the world's premiere campus for education and research dedicated to cardiovascular health.
To sustain and to enhance our world leadership in the prevention, detection, and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.
Educate: Build the premier cardiovascular training program in the country.
The Lillehei Heart Institute already educates more than 65% of the cardiovascular experts in the state of Minnesota. By enhancing and investing in our programs, we will train the next generation of national and international leaders in the field of cardiovascular medicine.
Endowed chairs will allow us to attract the brightest and best candidates into our training program, who will stay on to join our faculty, serve the state of Minnesota and, ultimately, the whole country.
We will also create centers of excellence where nationally prominent cardiologists are training future leaders. These centers of excellence will serve as magnets for patient referrals, education, research and innovation.
As we foster interest in science and medicine in young people, we will inspire the next generation of cardiologists and scientists and instill the importance of science and medicine to our health.
- Cardiovascular Prevention
- Structural Heart Disease
- Heart Failure & Cardiac Transplantation
- Pulmonary Hypertension
- Cardiovascular Imaging
- Cardiac Resuscitation Program
- Adult Congenital Program
- Clinical Science Research Program
Prevent: Detect cardiovascular disease at its earliest stage & prevent its progression.
Detecting and treating heart disease at its earliest stages allows us to identify individuals most at risk and provide earlier intervention to reduce complications. The Rasmussen Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention can assess cardiovascular risk and detect disease long before symptoms are present. Our next step is to tailor our therapies to the genetic profile of each patient. We will also work to develop gender-specific therapies as basic differences between the cardiovascular system of males and females are revealed. These are pioneering initiatives that will transform the practice of medicine.
At the Lillehei Heart Institute, we’ve found that the brightest ideas are often fairly simple. For example, we have started a campaign to encourage Minnesotans over the age of 50 to take an 81mg baby aspirin every day. This simple but elegant outreach initiative—the first of its kind in the country—will significantly reduce cardiovascular disease in our state.
We have recently made a dramatic discovery that will transform the response to sudden cardiac arrest to prevent nearly certain death. In addition, we are developing systems to improve cardiac resuscitation at all steps in the process, to greatly improve outcomes.
Cure: Heal hearts through research innovation.
Because there are many causes of heart disease, there is not just one cure. The University of Minnesota has a long-standing reputation as the institution that launched the treatment for all forms of heart failure. We will continue this tradition by recruiting nationally recognized physicians and scientists who are focused on discovering emerging causes of heart failure, while at the same time focusing on improving therapies for long-standing causes of heart failure.
Endowing chairs for these highly-sought-after experts will enable us to retain them at the University of Minnesota and also fund research studies that will help us fuel new discoveries on all causes of heart failure.
Achieving our vision of a world free of cardiovascular disease will require innovation and investments in many areas, including clinical care, cardiovascular imaging and other state-of-the-art care technologies, medical devices and the development of gene, cell and molecular therapies that will allow us to regenerate and repair damaged hearts.
Translating discoveries from the research labs into new patient therapies is an essential goal for our overall program. The University of Minnesota is poised to make great strides in this arena with some of the world’s finest cardiovascular scientists, an exceptional school of pharmacy and medicinal chemistry, and internationally renowned cardiovascular physicians. This powerful combination will make it possible for us to discover the cure and save lives, as rapidly as possible.
C. Walton Lillehei, Ph.D., M.D.
Dr. C. Walton Lillehei was a pioneer in the area of open-heart surgery. At a time when popular wisdom in the medical community said surgery on a living human heart would never be possible, he pioneered the techniques of cross-circulation, saving the lives of children with congenital heart defects. In collaboration with other innovators at the University of Minnesota, he went on to develop the first pratical heart-lung machine and the first wearable pacemaker. Dr. Lillhei's pioneering efforts earned him the title "Father of Open-Heart Surgery."
Milestones of Open Heart Surgery
A history of heart research & cardiovascular practice at the University of Minnesota, including the first successful open-heart surgeries.