Scripps Cardiologist Paul Teirstein, MD, Receives Master Clinical Operator Award

International prize recognizes Dr. Teirstein's technical excellence and innovation in heart care

Paul Teirstein  of Scripps Health receives the  2015 Master Clinical  Operator Award.

International prize recognizes Dr. Teirstein's technical excellence and innovation in heart care

Scripps Health’s Paul Teirstein, MD, a world-renowned interventional cardiologist, received the 2015 Geoffrey O. Hartzler Master Clinical Operator Award from the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF) during a ceremony today at the group’s 27th annual scientific symposium Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT).


The award is presented each year to a physician who has advanced the field of interventional cardiovascular medicine through technical excellence and innovation. Dr. Teirstein is only the second American to be recognized with this award since its inception in 2009.


Dr. Teirstein is chief of cardiology and director of interventional cardiology at Scripps Clinic, and director of the Prebys Cardiovascular Institute, which combines leading researchers, cardiovascular medicine and physician training in the largest heart care center on the West Coast.


With a primary focus on complex coronary interventions and new technology development, Dr. Teirstein has played an active role in the initial development and clinical investigation of coronary stent procedures, rotablator atherectomy, transluminal extraction atherectomy, coronary angioscopy and the use of cardiopulmonary support.


Dr. Teirstein pioneered the first effective treatment for restenosis (low dose radiation therapy) and was one of the early investigators of medicated stents. His recent areas of investigation include new technology for minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement (PARTNER trial) and transcatheter treatment of hypertension (Simplicity trial).

Teacher, mentor, leader

In 1989, with his first fellow, Patricia Aubanel, MD, Dr. Teirstein founded the interventional cardiology training program at Scripps Clinic, which has allowed him to help shape the careers of trainees for years.


“During his long tenure at Scripps, Paul Teirstein has been shaping the future of interventional cardiology for generations to come through training, mentorship and leadership, while simultaneously advancing state-of-the-art care through rigorous research and the development of new techniques and tools,” said Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of Scripps Health. “He has accomplished all of this while treating his patients and their families with compassion and integrity.”


The Hartzler Award was named in honor of a giant in the field of interventional cardiology. Dr. Hartzler, who died in 2012, was a major contributor to the care of patients through his development of many interventional cardiology and interventional electrophysiology procedures.

Teirstein embodies spirit of innovation

“In many ways, Paul Teirstein embodies that spirit in terms of pushing the envelope, but in a reasonable way,” said Gary Mintz, MD, chief medical officer of the CRF and managing co-director of TCT. “He embodies many of the principles behind the Hartzler award in terms of his technical skill, treatment of patients and teaching people about interventional procedures. He is also a very upbeat and positive person.”


Dr. Teirstein, who was Dr. Hartzler’s first fellow, said the award was “enormously special” to him because Dr. Hartzler taught him the craft of balloon angioplasty and so much more.


“He taught me how to be an expert in the cath lab, but he also taught me how to interact with patients and colleagues,” Dr. Teirstein said. “He wasn’t always perfect. He walked too fast, talked too fast. He was very open about his deficiencies and that had a big impact on me. I learned that even at work, it was OK to be myself. To receive an award named after Geoff Hartzler is, for me, the highest honor.”


Dr. Teirstein received training at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Stanford University, the Mid-America Heart Institute and the National Institutes of Health. He has lectured throughout the world on state-of-the-art interventional cardiology techniques. He currently performs more than 800 stent procedures a year and maintains an active clinical research unit at Scripps Clinic.


He also is a member of multiple professional societies including the American Heart Association and the Society of Cardiac Angiography and Interventions, and is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology.


TCT Directors Gregg Stone, MD, and Martin Leon, MD, jointly presented the award during a morning conference session at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.


“Paul Teirstein is highly deserving of the TCT 2015 Geoffrey O. Hartzler Master Clinical Operator Award,” said Dr. Leon. “His work inside the cath lab and his devotion to clinical research activities have advanced the field of interventional cardiology and provided physicians with new, more effective ways to treat patients.”


Ranked for the best in heart care in San Diego County and No. 19 nationally by U.S. News and World Report, Scripps is also the largest provider of heart medical services in the region, caring for more than 76,000 cardiovascular patients every year. Its newly opened Prebys Cardiovascular Institute brings together leading researchers, physicians, staff and technologies in the most advanced center dedicated to heart care on the West Coast.


Learn more about Scripps Health, a nonprofit integrated health system in San Diego, Calif.

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Keith Darce
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