Finn Waagstein was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1938. He graduated from Arhus University Medical School in 1956, and was certified by the Educational Council for Foreign Medical Graduates at Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A. the same year. He was trained in surgery for two years, and spent another five years of training in internal medicine in Gavle Community Hospital in Sweden. In 1970, he was Resident at the Department of Cardiology at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and enrolled as a research fellow in cardiology from 1972-1976. His doctoral degree incorporated his first clinical observations on the use of beta-blockers in acute myocardial infarction and congestive heart failure. He was appointed Associate Professor at the University of Gothenburg in 1980. He assisted in establishing and directing the first Swedish heart transplant program and, from 1990, directed the heart failure and cardiomyopathy research program, developing it into one of the most important facilities of its kind in the whole of Scandinavia. He is currently Professor of Cardiology and senior physician at Wallenberg Laboratory in the Department of Cardiology at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenberg University, Sweden.
Professor Waagstein initiated the brilliant concept of beta-blocking in the treatment of chronic heart failure. Despite earlier skepticism, controlled clinical trials and pathophysiological studies led by Waagstein ultimately resulted in worldwide recognition of beta blockade as an important modality in treating heart failure. He also contributed to studies on the role of autoimmune processes in the development of dilated cardiomyopathy, a major cause of heart failure in young and middle-age patients.
Professor Waagstein published more than 250 scientific papers, review articles and book chapters. He also gave keynote lecturer at many international academic institutions and professional societies worldwide. He is a Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology, a founding member of the Society’s Working Group on Heart Failure in 1994, and recipient of its Medal in 2001. He was also the Chairman of the Working Group on Myocardial and Pericardial Disease (1997-2001).
Professor Waagstein, has been awarded the prize, for his discovery of the important role of beta-adrenergic blockers in the treatment of congestive heart failure. Professor Waagstein’s persuit of research in that field for twenty years has led to the establishment of beta-blockade as a widely accepted modality in the treatment of heart failure.