Right Heart Catheterization (RHC) is the gold standard for diagnosing and classifying pulmonary hypertension. The story behind its invention is captivating, highlighting the remarkable strides that individuals driven by a passion for science and innovation can take, often braving risks to their own well-being and even lives!
Werner Forssmann was born in Berlin in 1904, where he also studied medicine. He served as a doctor in Eberswalde, a town in the German state of Brandenburg, and conducted his Nobel Prize-awarded experiment there in 1929. He had previously seen a photo showing how a tube was inserted into the heart of a horse through a vein. A balloon at the other end of the tube showed the changes in pressure. Forssmann was convinced that a similar experiment could be carried out on humans. Despite the fact that his boss forbade him, Forssmann conducted the experiment on himself. He inserted a thin catheter through a vein in his arm into his heart and took an X-ray photo. The experiment paved the way for many types of heart studies.
Dr Forssman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1956
Three more Nobel prize winners have made key discoveries in the field of pulmonary hypertension. Find out more about them by checking out our infographic, which summarises the key steps and milestones in the the history of pulmonary hypertension care, at this link
Read more at this link on the Nobel Prize website