Skip Navigation Bar
Andrew Glenn Morrow Cardiovascular Research Film Collection 1958-1969
full text File Size: 25 K bytes | Add this to my bookbag

Biography

Biographical/Historical Note

Andrew G. Morrow was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1922. He received his bachelor's degree from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. At the Johns Hopkins University, Morrow earned a degree in medicine in 1946 as well as obtained surgical training. Morrow worked for a year in Leeds, England in the General Infirmary as a senior registrar in thoracic surgery. In 1952, James Shannon, the National Heart Institutes associate director in charge of research, recruited Morrow to become the first chief of the Clinic of Surgery because of his surgical skills and prowess as a biochemist.

Installation of artificial heart valves was an area of research and experimentation for Dr. Morrow. Under the tutelage of Morrow, Nina Starr Braunwald developed an artificial mitral valve made of polyeurethane flaps. In 1960, both Morrow and Nina Starr Braunwald were part of the team that performed the first successful removal and replacement of the mitral valve in the human heart using Braunwald's design. Braunwald later devised the Braunwald-Cutter valve, which was used in thousands of valve replacement surgeries, but the Starr-Edwards valve ultimately supplanted Nina Braunwalds model. Dr. Morrow was the first surgeon to implant the Starr-Edwards valve in a patient in February of 1967, and by December of 1968, more than one hundred patients received the Starr-Edwards valve at the National Institute of Health's Clinical Center. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institutes Surgery Branch also was involved in the development of artificial pacemakers. Morrow contributed to the evolution of the pacemaker by determining that plutonium 238 could extend a pacemaker's useful life from eleven to twenty years. Like many cardiac surgeons of the time, Morrow sought to make strides in treating idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis. A type of idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis, later called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, is hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM), which impedes blood flow. Morrow invented a surgical technique to deal with HOCM that removed the thickening of tissue from the septum and remedied blood flow. This procedure, that became known as the "Morrow Operation," attracted surgeons from around the world to visit NIH to observe Morrow at work.

Dr. Morrow not only trained more than 140 staff and clinical associates at NIH but also taught at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His role in education extended beyond the classroom and operatory from describing valve replacement surgeries to President Lyndon B. Johnson to taking part in an informational video produced by NIH about types of artificial heart valves. He participated in several professional organizations such as the Society for Vascular Surgery, American College of Surgeons, and International Cardiovascular Society. Morrow also served on the editorial board of the The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery and was a consulting reviewer of the New England Journal of Medicine. In 1962, he was granted the Arthur S. Flemming Award for his work in federal service.

As a long-time smoker, Morrow developed HCM and atrial fibrillation in his own heart and died on August 12, 1982 after repeatedly refusing treatment. Many of Morrow's colleagues gathered on September 30, 1983, to dedicate the Surgical Wing of the Clinical Center to him, including James Wyngaarden, the Director of NIH at the time of the ceremony, who had been a clinical associate of Morrow.