Scripps Cardiologist Wins Prestigious International Innovation Prize

Award recognizes groundbreaking work on heart stents

Dr. Richard Schatz, cardiology, winner of international innovation award.

Dr. Richard Schatz, Interventional Cardiology, Scripps Clinic

Award recognizes groundbreaking work on heart stents

Scripps Clinic cardiologist Richard Schatz, MD, has won the 2019 Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize, presented by the National Academy of Engineering and Ohio University, for his seminal role in the development of heart stents, which spurred a revolution in the treatment of coronary artery disease.

Dr. Schatz was among five physicians and researchers who received the prestigious honor this month for their various inventions and innovations that led to the widespread adoption of percutaneous coronary intervention. Also known as “PCI,” the catheter-based minimally invasive procedure uses stents and angioplasty to clear blocked arteries in the heart.

The Russ Prize, which is modeled after the Nobel Prize, recognizes bioengineering achievements worldwide that are in widespread use and have significantly improved the human condition.

Dr. Schatz is research director of cardiovascular interventions at the Scripps Heart, Lung and Vascular Center in San Diego, and director of gene and stem cell therapy. He is a recognized international expert in interventional cardiology and has published and lectured extensively.

In 1988, Dr. Schatz and fellow Russ Prize recipient Julio Palmaz, MD, received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for the first study of stents in human coronary circulation. In 1994, the FDA approved the Palmaz-Schatz stent as the first such device to reduce restenosis, which is the arterial narrowing that can occur after a balloon angioplasty.

Millions of lives saved

“This is a great honor for me, particularly to be named alongside my partner Dr. Julio Palmaz, recognizing 30 years of hard work,” Dr. Schatz said. “The previous winners are all giants in the history of medicine who made great contributions to mankind.

“This year’s winners are all icons in our field as well, each of whose contributions made our success possible,” he said. “Millions of lives have been saved worldwide as a result of the work from this group. It is a real privilege to be named with all of them.”

Dr. Schatz attended the State University of New York at Buffalo, earned his medical degree from Duke Medical School and did his cardiology training at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. He is an elected fellow of the American College of Cardiology and a distinguished fellow of the Hong Kong Cardiology Society. His other honors include the Distinguished Alumnus Award and the Barton Haynes Lifetime Scholar Award from Duke University Medical Center.

Other 2019 Russ Prize recipients were Leonard Pinchuk, PhD; John Simpson, MD; and Paul Yock, MD.

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

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Keith Darce

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