Dr. William Ganz

Dr. William Ganz


William Ganz, MD a pioneering cardiologist and co-inventor of the pulmonary artery catheter, passed away Tuesday, November 9, 2009. He was an active member of the HMAA and was named Honorary President.

In 1970 Dr. Ganz and H. J. C. Swan invented a balloon tipped catheter that measures heart function and blood flow in critically ill patients. The Swan-Ganz catheter is widely used by physicians across the world. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center said Dr. Ganz also experimented with treating heart attacks by dissolving coronary artery blood clots in the early 1980's.

He was born in Kossice, what is now Slovakia. His studies at the Charles University in PragueCzechoslovakia were suspended after two years when the school was closed in 1940 due the Nazi occupation. He was sent to a Nazi labor camp in Hungary. He was scheduled to be sent to Auschwitz in 1944, but, as he told Swan, "I refused the offer and instead went underground." After World War II, Dr. Ganz graduated from Charles University in 1947 at the top of his class.

He worked in Czechoslovakia for nearly 20 years but grew disillusioned with Communist orthodoxy. In 1966, he ostensibly took his wife and two sons on a vacation to Italy, a privilege reserved for only a few. Upon reaching Vienna, he applied for an entry visa to the United States. Because he had relatives in Los Angeles, he was allowed to enter, and contacts got him a position at Cedars, where he spent the rest of his career. [1]