History of Department
The Era of Professor Nakamura
The establishment of the Research Institute of Angiocardiology in Kyushu University dated back to April 1958. At that time, the concept of organ-based specialist clinical departments like what we have today was poorly established. Especially, for the specialty in cardiovascular system, the so-called angiocardiology specialty, while it was in existence in Japan, there was absolutely no research institution specializing in this field. In such era, Kyushu University Faculty of Medicine was the first in Japan to set up a cardiovascular research institute. The possible reasons for such pioneering project include the following.
1. Up until then, it had been a tradition of Kyushu University Faculty of Medicine to develop research on the cardiovascular system. The university had produced several professors well known in this field of research, such as Professor Ryukichi Inada and Professor Ken Kure who were the first in Japan to import an electrocardiograph and apply it clinically; Professor Jiro Kaneko who had worked toward the founding of the Japanese Circulation Society; Professor Jun Tahara who invented the special excitation conducting system; as well as Professors Kuni Ishihara, Tando Misao and Tokushi Fukuda who were renowned for their research in cardiovascular physiology and pharmacology research.
2. From 1952, a research fund from the Ministry of Education of 1 million yen annually had been given to the clinical physiology research laboratory, mainly to Professor Kimura of the former Kurume University (then Associate Professor of Internal Medicine I) for the research on vector electrocardiogram.
At the time of inauguration, the then Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Professor Munenori Enjoji served concurrently as Director of the Institute, and Professor Kenji Yamaoka of Internal Medicine (I) who had devoted himself in the establishment of the Institute served concurrently as the first professor. Thereafter, successive deans of the Faulty of Medicine, including Professor Tamikazu Amako and Professor Ichiro Miyazaki, took the position of part-time director of the Institute, while many professors of basic and clinical research related closely to cardiovascular medicine were appointed as part-time professors. Together they put efforts to the development and smooth operation of the Research Institute of Angiocardiology. Then in 1963, Dr. Motoomi Nakamura was appointed the first full-time professor of the Institute.
The Era of Professor Nakamura
In the beginning of the era of Professor Nakamura, with feasibility as the first prerequisite, funds were obtained from various organizations such as Life Insurance Association; the National Public Health (NIH), Harvard University and Rockefeller Foundation of the United States, and Mishima Shipping Memorial Foundation. With these supports, the staff was gradually assembled. During this period, the Institute was a small unit with a staff of four: 1 professor, 1 associate professor, and 2 assistant professors. Reminiscing the condition of the Research Institute of Angiocardiology at the time of inauguration, Professor Nakamura described “in the beginning, it was a laboratory with nothing” or “we borrowed a room from the Department of Internal Medicine (I)”.
Thereafter, attempts were made to expand the facilities and personnel of the Institute and soon five years had passed. The Research Institute of Angiocardiology was originally planned to conduct basic research only. Realizing the importance of bedside research, Professor Nakamura and many colleagues at that time worked toward establishing a clinical component within the Institute. Finally in April 1965, a unit with 21 beds, 1 lecturer and 3 assistant professors was approved, and the Institute succeeded to have an adjunct clinical unit, called the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine Department. When founded, the Cardiovascular Medicine Ward was the North 2 ward of the former Internal Medicine Ward which was at the site where the present Health Technology Junior College is located. Then, student bedside education was started from the next year, in April 1966. This marks the starting point of the organizational structure of the Research Institute of Angiocardiology, Kyushu University, with its own clinical Department of Cardiovascular Medicine and engaged in clinical care, research and education. From 1967, the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine as a clinical department started to accept interns. At that time, Japan had just recovered from the post-war devastation and finally emerged into a phase of rapid economic growth. Accompanying this development, the Research Institute of Angiocardiology with the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine also strengthened its capacity for research, clinical care and education, and was ready to make great progress ahead. However, since the university turmoil broke out at the end of 1967, the Institute was forced to discontinue research activities, and this period lasted until around 1975.
During this period, the Research Institute of Angiocardiology added a new Department of Surgery with Cardiac Surgery Unit as its clinical component in 1973. Doctor Koichi Tokunaga became the first full-time professor in 1974. From October 1979, the Coronary Disease Treatment Unit (Coronary Care Unit: CCU) was newly established as a central clinical unit in Kyushu University Hospital, providing emergency medical care for cardiovascular diseases. At that time, none of the national universities in Japan had a CCU. The birth of CCU at Kyushu University was the vanguard of emergency cardiovascular care. In August 1987, the Department of Clinical Cellular Science was opened at the Research Institute of Angiocardiology, and Dr. Hideo Kanede was appointed as the first full-time professor. At this stage, the Research Institute of Angiocardiology finally became an integrated clinical and research institute for cardiac and vascular diseases, possessing a surgical department, a medical department and a basic science research department.
Initially Professor Nakamura devoted his efforts to research on vascular wall metabolism and myocardial metabolism, and concentrated his energy on studying the cause of arteriosclerosis, coronary circulation, especially in the development of coronary artery spasm model. Outstanding research achievements were recognized both at home and abroad. In addition, the Institute had produced many brilliant researchers under Professor Nakamura, including Professor Hiroyoshi Mori of Internal Medicine (II) at Tokushima University, who had made many contributions during the foundation stage of the Research Institute of Angiocardiology; Professor Kikuo Arakawa of Internal Medicine (II) at Fukuoka University, who isolated human angiotensinogen and identified its structure for the first time in the world; Professor Akio Kuroiwa of Internal Medicine (II) at the University of Occupational and Environmental Health, who developed clinical research centered on electrocardiograms, and Professor Yoshiaki Nose of the new Department of Medical Information at Kyushu University Faculty of Medicine.