University of Minnesota

Vittorio Puddu, MD

1909 — 1991

Puddu was the principal investigator of the Italian segment of the Seven Countries Study from its origins. He was one of the first European academic cardiologists to embrace the disciplines of cardiovascular disease (CVD) epidemiology and preventive cardiology and forward them in his medical community and internationally.

Puddu received his medical degree from the University of Rome and his specialized training in Paris and Vienna. He was the founder of the first center for cardiovascular diseases in Rome and set up the first division of cardiology in Italy at the St. Camillo Hospital where he remained Chief until he retired in 1976.

Puddu was a gentleman of the old school. He often spoke of the beauties, calm, and culture of pre-WWII Rome when it was a community of only 250,000 citizens. With his broad view and experience he became the first to establish epidemiological studies in Italian medical schools to address issues of rheumatic, congenital, and then coronary heart disease. He also established one of the first catheterization labs, coronary care units, and cardiac rehabilitation centers in Italy. He became an international leader in cardiology, Secretary General and then President of the International Society of Cardiology, and was influential in establishing the scientific councils of that society, including the Council on Epidemiology.

Puddu’s hobbies were gastronomy and motor and sailboat competitions. He died of Parkinsonism in 1991. (HB)

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