• 6/28/2024

State Parliament celebrates of Europe's first "single organ hospital"

German Heart Center Munich turns 50

The German Heart Center Munich – Clinic at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2024. At a ceremony in the Bavarian State Parliament, Minister President Dr. Markus Söder and Science Minister Markus Blume paid tribute to the clinic's achievements. As the first hospital in Europe to specialize in a single organ, the Heart Center was a role model for numerous hospitals in Germany and abroad.

Bavaria's Minister President Dr. Markus Söder (center) and Minister of Science Markus Blume (right) with Prof. Peter Ewert, Medical Director of the German Heart Center Munich. Staatskanzlei
50 years of cutting-edge medicine: Bavaria's Minister President Dr. Markus Söder (center) and Minister of Science Markus Blume (right) with Prof. Peter Ewert, Medical Director of the German Heart Center Munich.

Minister President Dr. Markus Söder said: "Bavaria is a top location for cardiac medicine: With the Heart Center, Munich boasts an international flagship insitution – including the world's only center for heart surgery with catheters in premature babies. Germany's first heart transplant, too, took place in Bavaria. Bavaria is banking on science and research. They provide answers to the questions of tomorrow – especially in the field of medicine. We want to take advantage of these opportunities. That is why we are promoting the future of cutting-edge medicine and care with the Highmed and HighCare Agenda. With the future partnership between the Heart Center and the TU Klinikum rechts der Isar, we are also sending a strong signal and increasing the appeal of each of these institutions. By doing so, we will enable many people to live longer and healthier lives. Thank you for your great work, congratulations and all the best for the future!"

Science Minister Markus Blume also congratulated: "Happy Birthday German Heart Center Munich! We are celebrating 50 years of the Heart Center in the Bavarian State Parliament, in the heart of our democracy. Founded in the 1970s out of necessity, but from the very beginning with the aim of achieving top performances: Today, the DHM stands for absolute excellence and is one of the top 3 centers for cardiology in Europe. This unique success story has been written above all by doctors and nursing staff through their outstanding commitment. Thank you very much! With the Hightech Agenda and its extension in medicine - the Highmed Agenda - we will continue to provide the best training, the best research and the best care for people in Bavaria in the future. And we are turning the Heart Center into a university hospital: in a well-thought-out union with the Klinikum rechts der Isar, we are founding the new TUM University Hospital and launching a new era of cutting-edge medicine."

The Medical Director of the German Heart Center, Prof. Peter Ewert, emphasized the successful development and future goals of the facility: "Over the past 50 years, we have made great progress in the treatment of heart disease. Our goal is to continue to advance cardiac medicine in the coming decades and to develop new, innovative therapies to provide our patients with the best possible care.” 

Research and healing

As the first "single organ hospital" in Europe, the German Heart Centre has served as a model in terms of health policy, hospital organization, and medical technology. It anticipated a high degree of specialization and differentiation in medicine that would become commonplace only much later. Following the ideal of "research and healing", science has been a focus of the Center's activities from the very beginning. In 1995, the German Heart Center Munich and TUM established a close cooperation with the aim of jointly using the facilities of the Heart Center for research and teaching purposes.

Over the past five decades, numerous medical innovations and novel treatment approaches have been developed and refined at the German Heart Center Munich. Accordingly, the first successful heart transplant in Germany was performed at the German Heart Center Munich in 1981. Today, the Clinic for Cardiovascular Surgery performs major heart surgery without having to open the sternum - this so-called keyhole surgery is used not only for heart valve operations but also for bypass operations. In addition, the Clinic for Cardiovascular  Surgery was a pioneer in interventional heart valve therapy and the repair of heart valves or replacement using body tissue (Ozaki method). 

Numerous research projects on heart attacks

Numerous clinical studies conducted at the Clinic for Cardiovascular Diseases have shaped guidelines for the treatment of heart attacks around the world. In addition, a global team led by the Heart Center succeeded in identifying almost all heart attack genes. The DigiMed Bayern project has mapped out ways to detect and treat people at high risk of heart attack that are in use nationwide. One example is the HerzFit app, a digital assistant for individual heart health, developed at the Heart Center with currently hundreds of thousands of users. DigiMed Bayern is regarded as a beacon of personalized cardiac medicine. 

Another focus is the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. In the last 25 years, the Department of Electrophysiology has treated more than 25,000 patients with cardiac arrhythmias using interventional catheter ablation. This makes the German Heart Center Munich one of the top three centers in this field in Europe. 

Treatment of congenital heart defects in children and adults

The Clinic for Congenital Heart Defects and Pediatric Cardiology at the German Heart Center is one of the largest departments of its kind in Europe. Patients from newborns to adults are treated here and new therapeutic procedures – especially cardiac catheter interventions - are regularly established. Most heart valves in children throughout Germany are implanted here by cardiac catheterization. It is also the only center in the world that performs catheter interventions on premature babies weighing 700g or more under ultrasound control in an incubator. The children are treated by the German Heart Center's catheter team as "Flying Doctors" directly in the maternity clinics.

A milestone in pediatric heart surgery was the founding of the European Pediatric Heart Center  Munich (EKHZ) in 2023, a cooperation between the Section for Surgery of Congenital Heart Defects and Pediatric Heart Surgery at LMU Klinikum München and the clinic of the same name at the German Heart Center Munich. Measured by the number of operations, the EKHZ is by far the largest pediatric heart surgery center in Germany and one of the largest in Europe. The range of services includes all procedures from newborns to adults, including therapy with artificial hearts and heart transplants. It is also one of only a few centers that train pediatricic heart surg

Success in numbers

The German Heart Center Munich now has over 1,300 employees. From 1990 to the present day, almost 254,000 patients have been treated as inpatients and 614,000 as outpatients. No exact figures are available for the years before that, but extrapolated, it is likely that the German Heart Center Munich provided help to well over a million people. From 1974 to 2023, more than 70,000 heart operations were performed at the Clinic for Cardiovascular Surgery. In pediatric heart surgery, more than 24,000 procedures were performed between 1974 and 2023. 

TUM University Hospital

The German Heart Center Munich looks back on its history with pride and looks to the future with confidence. Cutting-edge medicine, research at the highest level, excellent and empathetic patient care, short distances and interdisciplinarity continue to make the German Heart Center something special. To prepare for future challenges, the new "University Hospital of the Technical University of Munich" (TUM Klinikum) is being created together with the University Hospital rechts der Isar. This is an important strategic move to further strengthen the excellence of both clinical institutions at TUM and to leverage valuable synergies in medical research, technological innovations and healthcare. The aim is a partnership of equals – in which both sides develop together while retaining their own profiles. By joining forces with an outstanding university hospital, the German Heart Center Munich will continue to secure a leading position in cardiovascular research and patient care in the future. 

Technical University of Munich

Corporate Communications Center

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