Lives of the fellows

Leon Zundel Resnekov

b.20 March 1928 d.11 August 1993
MB ChB Cape Town(1951) MRCP(1956) MD(1965)FRCP(1972)

Leon Resnekov was born in Cape Town, South Africa, where his father was a medical practitioner. He was educated at South African College School and Cape Town University, where he studied medicine; his clinicals being undertaken at Groote Schuur Hospital. After graduation he held a professorial internship at Groote Schuur and then came to the UK for further training. He was medical registrar at King’s College Hospital, London, from 1957-61, and his primary training in cardiology was at the National Heart Hospital, Institute of Cardiology, under Paul Wood [Munk’s Roll, Vol.V, p.456] from 1961-67. He was awarded a research fellowship in clinical physiology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1967, and also appointed associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago where he was director of the myocardial infarction research unit, one of the first in the USA to focus on alterations on blood flow after a heart attack. Ten years later he became a full professor of medicine and joint director of the section of cardiology. He retained this post until his retirement.

An eminent cardiologist and distinguished physician and teacher, Leon Resnekov took part in early studies on the use of electrical shock to restore the heart’s normal rhythm after atrial fibrillation. He was also involved in the very early applications of nuclear medicine to the imaging of the heart. From 1975-80 he was director of the University’s specialized centre for research in ischaemic heart disease. Being trained in the British tradition, he made maximum use of non-invasive tests and stressed the importance of taking a careful medical history and listening to the patient’s heart rather than turning too soon to a battery of technological interventions. In 1972 he was elected a Fellow of the College. Leon Resnekov served as president of the Chicago Heart Association in 1978 and as president of the American College of Chest Physicians in 1979. He was on the editorial board of Circulation and wrote a landmark paper in 1978 on the sounds produced by all prosthetic heart valves. His many honours included the Heart of the Year and Gold Heart awards of the Chicago Heart Association, and the University of Chicago Hospitals created a Leon Resnekov fellowship in clinical cardiology to support young doctors training for careers in that field. Colleagues and students described him as a memorable teacher and a thoughtful physician. He married Carmella Ocheroff in 1955, daughter of an oil executive, and they had two children - a son and a daughter.

V C Luniewska

[New York Times, 20 Aug 1993; Chicago Sun-Times, 20 Aug 1993; Chicago Tribune, 20 Aug 1993]

(Volume IX, page 445)

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