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The Development of the German Heart Institute Berlin

Longstanding success story

Since 1986, the German Heart Institute Berlin, as a high-performance hospital, has offered treatment for the entire spectrum of cardiac, thoracic and vascular diseases as well as artificial heart implantations and transplantations of heart and lungs. We can look back on a long history of success. Milestones in our history include the world's first implantation of an artificial heart system (1998) and the introduction of a hybrid operating theatre for simultaneous surgical and cardiological interventions (2008).

1980 - 1989: Plans become reality

29.10.1982 Health Senator Ulf Fink presents the plan to establish a heart centre to the Berlin House of Representatives

29.03.1983 The Berlin Senate decides to build a supra-regional heart centre on the site of the Rudolf Virchow Municipal Hospital (RVK). The RVK is awarded the building contract. Estimated construction cost: DM 84.0 million

28.05.1983 The main committee of the Berlin Chamber of Deputies approves a special planning procedure for the DHZB.

22.12.1983 The foundation stone for the DHZB is laid in the presence of the Governing Mayor Richard von Weizsäcker.

26.06.1984 Decision of the Senate to establish a foundation with legal capacity under civil law 'Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin'.

27.07.1984 Cooperation agreement between the German Heart Institute Berlin and the Free University of Berlin.

16.10.1984 Topping out ceremony in the presence of the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Eberhard Diepgen.

10.02.1985 Health Senator Ulf Fink gives the German Heart Institute Berlin a statute.

04.03.1985 Appointment of the Foundation Board as the supervisory body of the DHZB.

01.06.1985 The publisher Axel Springer donates a guest house to the DHZB.

10.06.1985 Appointment and appointment of the Ltd. doctors of the DHZB (Hetzer, Fleck and Schmucker) as C4 professors of the Free University of Berlin.

21.12.1985 Handing over the keys for the DHZB.

01.01.1986 Commissioning of the DHZB with three clinics (Clinic for Heart, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Clinic for Internal Medicine - Cardiology, Institute for Anaesthesiology).

26.03.1986 The first heart operation (aortic valve replacement) at the DHZB.

20.04.1986 First heart transplantation.

29.04.1986 Official opening of the DHZB with ceremony in the presence of German President Richard von Weizsäcker.

06.12.1986 First scientific symposium at the DHZB on the current status of heart transplantation.

26.02.1987 The 50th heart transplant.

20.07.1987 First artificial heart implantation at the DHZB.

27.09.1987 The 100th heart transplantation.

01.11.1987 The attic of the DHZB will be converted into an independent transplantation ward.

25.01.1988 First heart-lung transplantation.

01.04.1988 The Clinic for Congenital Heart Defects - Pediatric Cardiology under the direction of Prof. Peter E. Lange takes up its work.

08.04.1988 The Academy for Cardiotechnology is founded on the initiative of Prof. Hetzer.

11.08.1988 Inauguration of the Axel-Springer-Guesthouse.

1990 - 1999: The development and first international success


Development of a psychosomatic department for artificial heart and transplant patients.


For the first time worldwide, the DHZB is successfully bridging the waiting time for a transplant with an artificial heart.


The 10,000th open heart operation is performed.


Senate resolution to increase the number of beds to 162.


The telemetric control system for the early detection of rejection reactions IMEG is introduced.


Construction of a nursing school at the DHZB.


The new children's clinic at the DHZB with 20 beds is inaugurated.


Transmyocardial laser revascularisation is introduced.


After 160 days of relief through an artificial heart, the natural, previously seriously ill heart of a 38-year-old Thuringian recovers so well that the artificial heart can be explanted and the patient is spared a transplant. This is the first case worldwide.

December 1995

Relocation and commissioning of the cardiac catheter measuring station 1 after the reconstruction of level 01. A sixth operating theatre and an emergency operating theatre are now available. This will increase the DHZB's service capacity to 3,500 open heart operations and 1,000 other operations.


Initially 25 beds in the Paulinenkrankenhaus for the further treatment of heart patients are put into operation.


1000th transplantation (en-bloc heart-lung transplantation).


10th anniversary of the DHZB with meeting of the foundation board, ceremony in the presence of the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Eberhard Diepgen, and evening party.


Completion of a system for magnetic resonance imaging of the heart.


Mediport Kardiotechnik GmbH is founded at the Focus Mediport site with a DHZB share of 30 percent.


Foundation of DHZB-Reinigungs- und Dienstleistungs GmbH together with the company Zehnacker.


Laying of the foundation stone for the Ronald McDonald House for parents and relatives of children treated at the DHZB.


10th anniversary of the Academy for Cardiotechnology.


Inauguration of the Reference Centre for Congenital Heart and Vascular Diseases in Adulthood.


The cooperation agreement with the heart centre in Cottbus is signed. The DHZB takes over the management tasks in the medical service. Prof. Hetzer is also appointed Medical Director of the Cottbus Heart Centre.


Dr. Christiaan Barnard, who performed the world's first heart transplant on a human being on 3 December 1967, visits the DHZB and gives a lecture on the history of heart transplantation.


Worldwide first implantation of the Micromed / DeBakey artificial heart system at the DHZB by Prof. Hetzer.


Inauguration of the Ronald McDonald House.


10th anniversary of the Gesellschaft der Freunde des DHZB e.V., 1st chairman is Prof. Dr. Helmut Witt.


The Community trademark "DHZB" is protected under EU law.


Prof. Dr. Horst Bourmer becomes Honorary President of the DHZB Foundation Board. Hubertus Moser is elected President at the same meeting (Deputy is Dr. Karl-Ernst Knurr).


Direct satellite transmission of four catheter interventions for congenital heart defects from the DHZB to the Children's Cardiology Symposium at the University of Chicago.


The daVinci robotic operating theatre system from the US company Intuitive Surgical Inc./Calif. for special minimally invasive cardiovascular operations is installed in the operating theatre.


RTL-Spendenmarathon raises DM 680,000 for the DHZB initiative "Airlift for Children with Heart Disease".

November 1999

Contract with the University of Shanghai for further training of heart surgeons from China at the DHZB.


The Siamese twin Ding Ding, which is separated in China, is flown into the DHZB for heart surgery.

2000 - 2006: 20th anniversary


Mediport Kardiotechnik GmbH and its subsidiary Berlin Heart GmbH merge to form Berlin Heart AG.


BerTiss GmbH is founded as part of the DHZB's long-standing scientific activities in the field of tissue engineering (tissue cultivation).


The Heart Centre Cottbus is transferred to the sponsorship of the Sana Kliniken GmbH. The cooperation agreement with the DHZB remains in place. Prof. Hetzer remains Medical Director.


Foundation of the Sino German Heart Institute in Shanghai (joint institute of DHZB and Heart Centre Shanghai).


The fully implantable left-ventricular assist device "Lion-Heart" by the company Arrow from Hershey / Penna is used for the first time at the DHZB in Berlin. It is designed as a permanent solution and not to bridge the waiting time for a transplant.

January 2001

The DHZB's cooperation with codon AG in tissue engineering is agreed.


Prof. Dr. Yuguo Weng, senior physician at the DHZB, implants the first artificial heart in Asia at the Sino-German-Heart-Institute.


The cooperation agreement with the Paulinenkrankenhaus will be concluded in accordance with Berlin's hospital plan, with the aim of concentrating the specialised further treatment of patients undergoing heart surgery.


Prof. Hetzer opens the four-day specialist congress in Leipzig as president of the anniversary conference of the German Society for Thoracic, Cardiac and Vascular Surgery.


Ceremony, foundation board meeting and banquet on the occasion of the DHZB's 15th anniversary.


Foundation of the CMR Academy for Cardiotechnology.


Foundation of the GHIB - German Heart Institute Berlin GmbH.

15.09. 2001

Honorary doctorate from the Chinese Fujian Medical University for Prof. Dr. Hetzer.

November 2001

Honorary Professorship of the Chinese Fujian Medical University for Administrative Director Dipl.-Ing.Thomas Höhn.

May 2002

Commissioning of the multi-slice computer tomograph. Opening of the new cardiological outpatient clinic and commissioning of the HK measuring station 3.

July 2002

Opening of the private ward H8 "Andalucía" on the 6th floor of the Pauline Hospital.

July 2002

Honorary doctorate from the Faculty of History and Social Sciences of the State Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw for Prof. Dr. Hetzer.

September 2002

Commissioning of the DHZB operating theatres 11 and 12 in the Paulinenkrankenhaus and the wake-up unit in the central operating theatre.


The DHZB is the first heart centre in Germany and the first hospital in Berlin to be successfully certified according to the KTQ model "Cooperation for Transparency and Quality in the Healthcare System".

December 2002

Honorary doctorate from the University of Sarajevo for Prof. Dr. Hetzer.

January 2003

Founding act of the German-Polish Health Forum.

March 2003

15th anniversary of the Academy for Cardiotechnology.

November 2003

Opening of the "parents' oasis" in the area of the children's ward H4.

December 2003

Foundation of the National Register for Congenital Heart Defects e.V.

December 2003

Commissioning of the 3.0 Tesla magnetic resonance tomograph.


Foundation of the MVZ-DHZB GmbH (medical care centre).

October 2004

50.000.operation with heart-lung machine.

December 2004

Prof. Dr. Peter E. Lange is retired. Prof. Dr. Felix Berger becomes his successor.


The "Medizinisches Versorgungszentrum im Deutschen Herzzentrum Berlin GmbH" receives approval from the Kassenärztliche Vereinigung Berlin (Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in Berlin) and participates in the provision of care by panel doctors. The DHZB thus begins the continuous expansion of the outpatient service range.


The DHZB is the first heart centre in Germany and the first hospital in Berlin to be successfully recertified according to the KTQ model "Cooperation for Transparency and Quality in the Healthcare System" in line with version 5.0 of the KTQ catalogue, thus demonstrating a continuous improvement process.


Prof. Hetzer will be awarded the Urania Medal for the public communication of difficult scientific information.


20th anniversary of the DHZB with meeting of the foundation board and ceremony.


The German-Bosnian-Herzegovinian Heart Centre, developed in cooperation with the DHZB, will be inaugurated with a ceremony at the University Hospital of Sarajevo.


The 1000th artificial heart patient will be presented at a press conference.

2007 - 2013: Further medical progress


In the presence of Prof. Dr. Philipp Bonhoeffer, the spiritual father of the "Melodie" transcatheter pulmonary valve system, this system, with which open heart surgery can be avoided in certain cases, is being introduced for the first time in Germany at the DHZB Clinic for Congenital Heart Defects - Pediatric Cardiology.


A cooperation agreement with the Taiwan Veterans General Hospital is signed and a plaque is unveiled at the DHZB.


The permanent artificial heart system Jarvik 2000, whose energy supply is shifted into the skull bone behind the left ear, is implanted for the first time in the presence of Dr. Jarvik (New York).


Progress in the treatment of congenital heart defects through the first implantation of the novel biostar system (bioresorbable double umbrella).


The 40th anniversary of the first heart transplantation by Christiaan Barnard will be celebrated with a press conference which will attract a lot of attention. Prof. Hetzer especially refers to the excellent long-term results of heart transplantation at the DHZB.


An innovative hybrid operating theatre, the first in Berlin, for simultaneous surgical and cardiological interventions is opened in OP 6. It contains, among other things, a state-of-the-art HD video system, a special radiolucent operating table and a complete angiography unit.


The DHZB Academy for Cardiotechnology, founded by Prof. Hetzer, celebrated its 20th anniversary with a festive symposium in the White Hall. The bachelor's degree programme in Cardiovascular Perfusion in cooperation with Steinbeis University Berlin will be opened by Prof. Hetzer and the President of Steinbeis University Prof. Löhn.


The constituent meeting of the Board of Trustees of the European Tissue Banks Foundation takes place at the International Club. The foundation, founded by the DHZB and three other large heart centres under the presidency of Prof. Hetzer, sees itself as a Europe-wide coordination centre and a network of experience for the affiliated tissue banks.


With the completion of the second reconstruction phase of ORs 1 to 3, the entire central OR is now available again in new splendour and full of state-of-the-art technology. The total costs amount to 5.5 million euros for the structural conversions and 5.5 million euros for the medical technology.


The Gesellschaft der Freunde des DHZB e.V. celebrates its 20th anniversary with a ceremony in the Berlin City Hall and an evening gala at the Hotel Intercontinental.


Opening of Germany's first simulation surgery at the Academy for Cardiotechnology with great media and scientific interest from Germany and abroad.


The 100th transapical heart valve operation takes place in the hybrid OR.


The "Tissue Bank Berlin-Brandenburg" is founded by the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the DHZB under the umbrella of the European Tissue Banks Foundation.


Prof. Hetzer is awarded an honorary doctorate from Moscow's Lomonosov State University in Moscow on the occasion of the opening of the academic year.


Prof. Hetzer implants the 500th left heart support system Incor, which was developed by Berlin Heart GmbH in 2002.


Foundation of EUROMACS (European Registry for Patients with Mechanical Circulatory Supports e.V.).


Steinbeis University, in cooperation with the DHZB, launches the Master's programme "Medical Psychology" and the transfer institute "Research in Medical Psychology", located at the DHZB's Academy for Cardiotechnology. Director of the Transfer Institute is Dipl. Psych. Dr. Wolfgang Albert.


The DHZB will be a cooperation partner for the new German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) for transnational research announced by the BMBF together with the Charité and the Max Delbrück Centre for Molecular Medicine and associated institutions. The designated location partners are now called upon to submit an overall concept.


The TAVI team celebrates the 400th transcatheter aortic valve implantation.


At the CeBIT in Hanover, the DHZB presents itself with the cloud computing project "TRESOR" together with its consortium partners as a successful participant in the technology competition of the BMWi.

12. - 15.06.2011

The DHZB is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a scientific symposium, a matinee in the Berlin City Hall and a big party in the Palais am Funkturm, as well as by hosting the 21st World Congress of the World Society of Cardio-Thoracic Surgeons and the 7th Global Forum on Humanitarian Medicine in the Dorint Hotel Convention Center Berlin. Prof. Hetzer is congress president.

01.08. 2012

The new Clinic for Congenital Heart Defect Surgery - Pediatric Heart Surgery is founded. The clinic director is PD Dr. Joachim Photiadis.


2014 - today: New leadership, new approaches


Prof. Volkmar Falk succeeds Prof. Roland Hetzer as Director of the Clinic for Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery and as Medical Director.


Prof. Burkert Pieske becomes the new director of the Clinic for Internal Medicine - Cardiology at the DHZB.

April - July 2015

A basic agreement on the intensive cooperation between the Charité and the DHZB as a university heart centre will first be signed by the executive boards of the two institutions and then ratified by the DHZB Foundation Board and the Supervisory Board of the Charité.


Sebastian Dienst becomes the new Director of Nursing of the DHZB.


Dr. Rolf Zettl becomes the new Commercial Director of the DHZB.


Prof. Dr. med. Benjamin O'Brien becomes the new director of the Clinic for Cardioanesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine at the DHZB.

He succeeds Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. Hermann Kuppe, who is retiring.


The City of Berlin, the Charité and the DHZB sign the framework agreement on the basic principles and conditions for the establishment of the "German Heart Center of the Charité" (DHZC).