Norman Shumway

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Norman Shumway
Born (1923-02-09)February 9, 1923
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Died February 10, 2006(2006-02-10) (aged 83)
Palo Alto, California
Nationality United States
Alma mater John Tarleton Agricultural College, Baylor University, Vanderbilt University, University of Minnesota
Known for Organ transplant Ciclosporin
Awards Lister Medal (1994)
Scientific career
Fields Heart Surgery
Institutions Stanford University

Norman Edward Shumway (February 9, 1923 – February 10, 2006) was a pioneer of heart surgery at Stanford University.[1] He was the 67th president of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery and the first to perform a successful Heart transplantation in the United States.[2]

Early life

Shumway was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan and brought up as an only child.[1][3] He attended the University of Michigan for one year as an undergraduate law student until he was drafted by the Army in 1943,[4] which sent him to John Tarleton Agricultural College in Stephenville, Texas for engineering training. He then underwent Army Specialized Training, which included nine months of pre-medical training at Baylor University, followed by enrollment at Vanderbilt University for medical school. He received his M.D. from Vanderbilt in 1949. He did his residency at the University of Minnesota under Owen Wangensteen, Chairman of the Department and Walt Lillehei, Chief of Thoracic Surgery and a pioneer in Heart surgery,[5] alongside future fellow transplantation pioneer Christiaan Barnard, and was awarded a surgical doctorate in 1956. In 1958, he began working as an instructor in surgery at Stanford Hospital in San Francisco, California, and later, in Palo Alto when the hospital was moved.

He spent many years training promising young residents of cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford University. Among his notable trainees is Stanford cardiologist Hannah Valantine, a native of Gambia who was appointed in 2014 as the U.S. National Institutes of Health Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity. He also worked with pathologist Margaret Billingham in acute organ rejection and trained Philip Caves, cardiothoracic surgeon, who returned to Scotland to work in heart surgery in newborns.[6]

Heart transplant pioneer

In collaboration with Randall B. Griepp,[7] he was the first doctor to successfully carry out a human heart transplant operation in the United States in 1968, after Barnard's 1967 operation in South Africa, which was partly based upon the work of Vladimir Demikhov, Shumway and Richard Lower.[5][4] The early years of the procedure were difficult, with few patients surviving for long. Shumway was the only American surgeon to continue performing the operation after the poor survival outcomes of these early transplants.[8][9][10]

In the 1970s he and his team refined the operation, tackling the problems of rejection and the necessity for potentially dangerous drugs to suppress the immune system. In particular, he pioneered the use of cyclosporine, instead of traditional drugs, which made the operation safer.[11]

Shumway was inspired by Nobel Prize winners, Joseph Murray and Peter Medawar.[4][12]

The world's first heart-lung transplant was performed in 1981, by both Shumway and Bruce Reitz.[4]


Family life

Shumway's marriage to the former Mary Lou Stuurmans ended in divorce. The couple had four children, one of whom directs heart and lung transplantation at the University of Minnesota.

Shumway died of lung cancer in Palo Alto in 2006, on the day after his 83rd birthday.[1][22][23] He has been described as 'humble', 'focused' and shying away from publicity.[2][24]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Norman Shumway, Heart Transplantation Pioneer, Dies at 83". News Center. Retrieved 2017-07-16. 
  2. ^ a b Fann, James I (December 2011). "Historical perspectives of The American Association for Thoracic Surgery: Norman E. Shumway, Jr (1923–2006)". The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. 
  3. ^ "Eskind Biomedical Library - History of Cardiac Surgery: Dr. Norman Shumway". Retrieved 2017-10-02. 
  4. ^ a b c d Altman, Lawrence K. (2006-02-11). "Norman E. Shumway, 83, Who Made the Heart Transplant a Standard Operation, Dies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-07-20. 
  5. ^ a b McRae, D. (2007). Every Second Counts. Berkley.
  6. ^ England, Royal College of Surgeons of. "Caves, Philip Kennedy - Biographical entry - Plarr's Lives of the Fellows Online". Retrieved 2017-11-09. 
  7. ^ Arthur H. Aufses, Barbara Niss, This house of noble deeds: the Mount Sinai Hospital, 1852-2002, Google Books
  8. ^ a b c d e Robbins, Robert C. "Profiles in Cardiology, Norman E. Shumway". Clinical cardiology. 23: 462–466. 
  9. ^ Brandt, Michelle (12 February 2003). "Reunion celebrates 35 years of heart transplantation at Stanford Hospital". Stanford Report. Stanford University. Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
  10. ^ Richter, Ruthann (2008). "What have we done? Forty Years of Heart Transplants". Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
  11. ^ Pioneers of Heart Surgery, PBS, 8 April 1997
  12. ^ "Norman Shumway". Independent. 16 February 2006. 
  13. ^ Times, Special To The New York (1971-08-23). "Shumway Gets Prize For Implant Research". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-07-20. 
  14. ^ Verlag, Kaden. A Century of International Progress and Tradition in Surgery. p. 98. ISBN 3-922777-42-2. 
  15. ^ Fraser, Charles D. (2011). "Texas Heart Institute Medal and the Ray C. Fish Award for Scientific Achievement in Cardiovascular Diseases". Texas Heart Institute Journal. 38 (1): 1–2. ISSN 0730-2347. PMC 3060750Freely accessible. PMID 21423461. 
  16. ^ "News from the American Heart Association" (PDF). American Heart Association Journal. 1982. Retrieved 20 July 2017. 
  17. ^ "Vanderbilt News:Renowned transplant surgeon receives Distinguished Alumnus Award". Retrieved 2017-07-20. 
  18. ^ "Medical School 1985 Commencement" (PDF). 7 June 1985. 
  19. ^ "Award Recipients | The Michael E. DeBakey International Surgical Society". Retrieved 2017-07-20. 
  20. ^ The Newsletter of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, Volume 1, Issue 1,, Summer 1998
  21. ^ Dinakaran Soundara Paulraj (2014-04-12). "Relation between norman and heart transplantation". 
  22. ^ "Norman Shumway, Heart Transplantation Pioneer, Dies At 83" Archived 2012-07-15 at, Stanford University School of Medicine News, 2 October 2006
  23. ^ Altman, Lawrence K. (February 11, 2006). "Norman E. Shumway, 83, Who Made the Heart Transplant a Standard Operation, Dies". The New York Times. 
  24. ^ "Norman Shumway". The Independent. 2006-02-16. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
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