Cedars-Sinai Blog

Heart Innovations and Discoveries

The Smidt Heart Institute is known around the world for its commitment to translating leading-edge research into routine patient care. Through the years, our innovations and discoveries have improved the prognosis and quality of life for patients battling heart disease.

Cedars-Sinai's international reputation for outstanding heart care is built on decades of innovation and leading-edge research, including:

  • Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, and the Smidt Heart Institute completed enrollment in the world’s first autologous cardiac stem cell clinical trial, caduceus, with results forthcoming in less than a year. In the meantime, our work produced some surprises—such as the finding that high doses of antioxidant nutritional supplements may increase genetic abnormalities in stem cells and thereby predispose supplement takers to developing cancer.
  • Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, director of the Smidt Institute, presents the 10-year progress report.
  • Our interventional cardiology team, led by Raj Makkar, MD, continued to pioneer the development of percutaneous heart valve repair and replacement. Smidt Heart Institute physicians have performed more percutaneous mitral valve repairs and aortic valve replacements than any other U.S. medical center. Our physicians will play a primary role in teaching these techniques to fellow practitioners around the world, and in directing the next wave of clinical studies.
  • In electrophysiology, Sumeet Chugh, MD, director of the landmark Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study, made significant progress in the quest to predict which individuals are most likely to suffer sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Our 30-bed Advanced Heart Failure Unit began admission of congestive heart failure and heart transplant patients. The first of its kind in California, the unit seeks to improve upon the standard of care with a team approach to patient management, real-time monitoring of heart function and intensive heart-health education.
  • Our hypertension team subjected a blood pressure screening program to scientific scrutiny. In an important public health finding, the study demonstrated that blood pressure programs based in African-American barbershops are effective in helping participants control blood pressure and prevent hypertension-related complications.
  • The Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center provides risk assessment, diagnosis and heart disease care that is specifically tailored to women.

From cardiac rehabilitative and preventive care and heart transplantation to the training of the heart specialists of tomorrow and leading-edge research that is deepening medical knowledge and practice, Smidt Heart Institute is known around the world for excellence.

To learn more about how we're changing lives today to keep moving cardiovascular medicine forward, read our Heart Institute Annual Report 2023.

Timeline of Heart Innovations and Discoveries


First electrocardiogram machine installed in Los Angeles.

Blood cells

First use of the thrombolytic enzymes to dissolve blood clots in the heart.

Man looking at book

First description of the syndrome of vasopastic angina.

Swan-Ganz catheter

Invention of the Swan-Ganz catheter to measure blood flow and heart pressures.

Heart graphic

First use of drugs to dilate blood vessels in heart failure patients, revolutionizing the way severe heart disease is treated.


First use of radioactive isotope Tc-99m to assess blood flow throughout the heart.

apo A-1 Milano

First us of the mutant gene-based therapy (apo A-1 Milano) to fight atherosclerosis in experimental animals- a step toward new treatments for coronary artery disease.

Imaging software

Developed imaging software used worldwide for noninvasive quantification of heart function.

Cedars-Sinai cardiologist

First medical center in California and one of the first in the nation to use a portable artificial heart.

Mitral valve repair

First enrolling center in a national trial of percutaneous mitral valve repair.

C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD

First comprehensive women's heart center in the United States encompassing clinical care, research and education.

Scientist with pipette

First clinical trial of cardiac-derived stem cells to treat heart attack patients.

Heart graphic
  • National leader in clinical trials of new catheter procedure to replace aortic valves nonsurgically.
  • First hospital unit in California dedicated solely to treating advanced heart failure patients.