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Domingo Liotta

Domingo Santo Liotta (29 November 1924–) is a pioneer of heart surgery, creator of multiple cardiac prostheses including the first total artificial heart used in a human being.

Early life

Domingo Liotta born in Diamante Entre Rios Argentina, son of an Italian immigrant, Nov, 29 1924. Completed his elementary school at his hometown at "Independencia" School. Completed high school at "Justo Jose de Urquiza" School in Concepcion del Uruguay, Entre Rios.

Medical education highlights

In 1949 graduated as a Medical Doctor at National University of Cordoba, Argentina. Post graduate degree, doctorate in Medicine and Surgery in 1953. In 1955 developed an Early Diagnosis of the Tumor of the Pancreas and Ampulla of Vate technique. Pour le diagnostic des tumeurs du pancreas: La duodenographie hypotonique. Lyon Chirurgical, 1955. Continued his medical career in Lyon, France at the University of Lyon. General Surgery, Pierre Mallet-Guy's Service. Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery, Paul Santy and Pierre Marion's Service. His early works in the artificial heart are from 1958 in Cordoba, Argentina where he developed an early prototype successfully used in small animals. After publishing the results of his studies, was hired at the Baylor University in Houston Texas as Director of the Artificial Heart Program by Dr.Michael E. DeBakey in 1961.

Selected chronology of the 1960s

1961(December): First conception of the prolonged mechanical assist circulation in the treatment of Cardiogenic Shock Poscardiotomy.

1963 (July 19): Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) in a patient in cardiogenic shock postcardiotomy, Domingo Liotta and E. Stanley Crawford at the Methodist Hospital in Houston. First clinical use. The original clinical prototype is displayed at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC.

1966 (April 21): Liotta-DeBakey LVAD implanted in a cardiogenic shock postcardiotomy patient, Methodist Hospital, Houston. First Clinical use.

1966 (October): Liotta-DeBakey LVAD in a paracorporeal position in cardiogenic shock postcardiotomy, Methodist Hospital, Houston. First successful clinical use.

1969 (April 4): Liotta-Cooley Total Artificial Heart, Texas Heart Institute, Houston. First clinical use.


1962 (May): Prolonged assisted circulation during and after cardiac and aortic surgery. Prolonged partial left ventricular bypass by means of intracorporeal circulation. It was selected as Finalist for the Young Investigators´ Contest Award (Denver) of the American College of Cardiology. 1964: Annual Award, Southwester Surgical Society, U.S.. Shared with C. William Hall and Michael E. DeBakey.1968: Golden Eagle Award, Council of International Nontheatrical Events, U.S., shared with Denton A. Cooley, Robert Bloodwell, and Grady Hallman.

1969: Award of Merit, American Medical Association shared with Denton A. Cooley, MD. 1969: Decoration of the Institute of Spanish Culture, Madrid, Spain. Shared with Jesús Zerbini (Brazil).

1970: Decoration, Great Cross of Alphonse The Wise (Gran Cruz de Alfonso el Sabio), the highest Spanish civil decoration. Shared with Denton A. Cooley.

1971: Decoration, Order Legion of Merit, Government of the Province of Entre Rios, Argentina.

1973: Professor of Surgery (Honorary), National University of Córdoba, Argentina.

1973: Decoration, Attending Cardiovascular Surgeon of Chinese Hospitals and Consultant of the Ministry of Public Health. Designated by the National State Council of the People's Republic of China. The Council was presided by Premier Chu En-lai.

1974: Decoration, Gran Cavallieri d’Onore for Humanitarian Services, Rome, Italy, the highest Italian civil decoration.

1990: Decoration, Director of the Cardiovascular Center, Guangzhou, China. Honorary Professor, Beijing Friendship Hospital of Capital University of Medical Science, China.

1997: Granted the Organ Replacement Science Award. Assisted Circulation for Chronic Heart Failure, International Society for Artificial Organs (ISAO), U.S.

2005: Decoration, Grand Council Knight of the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem and Rhodes, Cyprus, Rhodes, 5766 (Hebraic Calendar)

2006: Liotta-Cooley artificial heart (1969) displayed prominently at the Treasures of American History Exhibit, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.


1961-62: Fellow of Cardiovascular Surgery, Chairman of the Department of Surgery Michael E. DeBakey, Baylor University College of Medicine, Houston, U.S

1962-64: Advanced Research Fellow of the American Heart Association.

1963-69: Co-Director of the Baylor-Rice Artificial Heart Program shared with Michael E. DeBakey and C. William Hall.

1964-71: Assistant Professor of Surgery, Baylor University College of Medicine, Chairman of the Department: Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, Houston, U.S.

1970-71: Director of Surgical Research, Texas Heart Institute, Chief of Cardiovascular Service Denton A. Cooley, Houston, U.S.

1971-74: Surgeon-in-Chief, Carlos Durand Public Hospital, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

1971-90: Surgeon-in-Chief, Service of Cardiovascular Surgery, Italian Hospital of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

1973-74: Secretary of State for Public Health, Argentina. Author of the Law 20748, The National System of Public Health.

1991-94: Surgeon-in-Chief, Cardiovascular Clinic Institute, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

1994-96: Secretary of State for Science and Technology and President of the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET), Argentina.

1997-present: Dean of the School of Medicine, University of Morón, Argentina

Member numerous Medical Societies around the word. Owner of 12 patent inventions in the US. Author of hundreds of scientific publications and scientific books. Also author of medical humanism books in English and Spanish.

Dr Liotta is still actively working in research and development of new models of heart assist devices, for more information:

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