A biographical sketch of Lewis Dexter

Tex Heart Inst J. 2001;28(2):133-8.


Dr. Lewis Dexter was an outstanding cardiovascular physiologist and clinician, a respected teacher and scientist, and, most importantly, a fine human being. During his life, he brought the cardiac catheter from the laboratory to the patient and trained several generations of cardiologists. Dexter's laboratory was the first to elucidate the pathophysiologic alterations present in many forms of congenital heart disease, including atrial septal defects, patent ductus arteriosus, tetralogy of Fallot, ventricular septal defects, and pulmonic stenosis. Subsequent work in Dexter's laboratory led to the 1st measurements of pulmonary capillary wedge pressure and to the precise calculation of stenotic valve areas from hemodynamic parameters measured during cardiac catheterization. During a teaching exercise, Dexter demonstrated that exercise with a cardiac catheter in the heart was safe and produced clinically important data, by having a cardiac catheter inserted in himself. Over the years, many significant pathophysiologic studies that explored pulmonary embolism, valvular heart disease, right and left ventricular function, and pulmonary hypertension were published from Dexter's laboratory. But Lewis Dexter was more than a brilliant researcher "Lew" was very close to his fellows and students, whom he considered extensions of his family Dexter was a remarkable teacher, a compassionate physician, and a scrupulously honest investigator. Dr Lewis Dexter had a major impact on modern medicine and was one of the great cardiologists of the 20th century.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Cardiology / history
  • History, 20th Century
  • United States

Personal name as subject

  • L Dexter