Dr. Adib Jatene

In Memorian

Adib Jatene: June 4, 1929 - November 14, 2014

Adib Jatene: 4 de junho de 1929 - 14 de novembro de 2014

Domingo M. BraileI; Enio BuffoloII

IMd, PhD. Editor-in-Chief of Brazilian Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery. E-mail: domingo@braile.com.br
IIMD, PhD. Full Professor of Cardiac Surgery at Escola Paulista de Medicina - Universidade Federal de São Paulo

Professor Adib Domingos Jatene, indelible mark of pioneering spirit, honesty, wisdom and accurate surgical technique, left this life on the 14th of November.

It saddened the entire Brazilian nation, impoverished without his striking and distinguished presence, always dedicated to healing the heart of ill patients and Brazil's flaws.

Certainly, as Socrates, Professor Jatene is not dead!

He will live on his mission of great physician, dedicated teacher, inventor, class leader, competent administrator in higher academic and government positions and an exemplary citizen.

The legacy left by the thousands of disciples who he formed, and friends who had the privilege to live with him over the 85 years of his fruitful existence is eternal, therefore, his lessons will continue to be propagated throughout the ages in a chain of ideas and dignified conduct of the great leaders of national and international opinion.

It should serve as an example the trajectory of this person whose motto was be helpful to others, without that it may cost him any effort, therefore, it was of his nature the desire to serve the nation, to the best of his great director capacity.

Born in the wilds of the Amazon, in the state of Acre, in Xapuri, still today a frontier of civilization in the pristine forest breast. Founded in 1902 by Brazilian it was the focus of the revolution of which resulted in the incorporation of this Bolivian territory to Brazil.

Adib was the son of Lebanese immigrants who in search of Eldorado, braved the unknown in the early twentieth century, going to live in the jungle.

His father, Domingos Jatene, was rubber trader, the white gold (Latex) extracted from native rubber trees.



In one of his forays into thick woods, he returned with high fever and jaundice.

In a few days he died! At that time Adib was two years old.

He lived there until he was 10, when his mother, with the other children, moved to the State of Minas Gerais, in the city of Uberlândia, where civilization was already present.

This experience had a great influence on the young man's character, marking his desire to help the needy.

In 1947 with the desire to study engineering or medicine he moved to Sao Paulo, the State Capital.

In 1948 he enters the School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, which traced his career and destiny. It was his wish to specialize in Public Health and return to his hometown in Acre.

In 1951 on the medical fourth year he starts working on the group of Professor Euríclides de Jesus Zerbini, a pioneer of global heart surgery. At that time he acts as scrub in the first open surgery to correct Mitral Stenosis, held by Professor Zerbini at the Hospital of the FMUSP.

He enchants by the Cardiac Surgery, abandons the idea to specialize in public health and returns to the Acre!

He graduated physician in 1953 at age 23. He performs specialization under Zerbini advice in 1954.

He marries Aurice Biscegli Jatene.



He moves to Uberaba in 1955 as Professor of Topographic Anatomy and cardiothoracic surgeon.

Endowed with great skill, he attends a machine shop, impressed with his "masters" by the ease they manufactured products for surgery using the right tools.

Thus, he developed a heart lung machine and a disc oxygenator, which was he performed experimental heart surgery in dogs and was ahead of his time!

In 1957 Professor Zerbini, sensing the potential of Jatene invites him to return to the Hospital of the FMUSP. At this time, as his assistant.

The atmosphere was effervescent in the 1st Surgical Clinic, whose professor was the flagship Professor Alípio Correa Netto, humble in his greatness, immune to jealousy, he was creator of a large number of specialties, which began their differentiation in those years.

He was admired by his assistants, among them Professor E.J.Zerbini and Professor Adib Jatene, their substitutes in the evolution of their brilliant careers.

With the full support of this eminent professor; Zerbini, with great civic spirit and own ideas about inventions and innovations, encouraged his assistants to create equipment for heart surgery, here in Brazil.

With this vision was created at the Hospital of the University of São Paulo, one workshop to begin this journey into the future.

It received the pompous name of "Artificial Heart Workshop"

Showing his penchant for equipment construction, Professor Adib showed all his ability developing improved CPB machines, oxygenators, heat exchangers, thermometers etc. meeting the needs not only in Brazil but also in South America nations. Some models were shipped to Europe, with great acceptance.

Professor Adib Jatene was fundamental in the evolution of Cardiac Surgery group at Clinics Hospital between 1957 and 1961, when he moved to the incipient "Cardiology Institute of the State of São Paulo", a government institution headed by a cardiologist also ahead of his time: Professor Dante Pazzanese, a pioneer in many fields of specialty.

With much justice today the Institute takes his name.

In the new house, Jatene developed his creativity and competence as expert surgeon, trainer of brilliant disciples and creator of many important inputs for the development of Cardiac Surgery, advancing by leaps and bounds to its consolidation.

At this time of great challenges Jatene already created in 1962 another workshop to manufacture equipments: Experimental Workshop, precursor of Adib Jatene Foundation (1984).

Just as an example we mention some of the achievements of this institution: Artificial Heart Valves, Starr Edwards type, just two years after the original be developed. It was used for many years, with even better performance than the imported equipment; defibrillators; pacemaker, which allowed us to advance in this field without any lags behind the developed countries. CPB machines, with important technological additions in relation to the primitive; concentric, stainless steel and compact Bubble oxygenators.

With advent of the hollow membranes, the workshop developed the first Brazilian membrane oxygenator, marketed worldwide by a national company.

Other equipment were adding to these, some more simple as aspirators of various types and models, as well as surgical instruments not marketed in the country.

It developed a tilting disc valve which resulted in an international patent. Since the dawn Professor Jatene invested in the research of implantable artificial mechanical hearts, an idea that never left, until the last days of his life when he worked (always accompanied by the best technicians and engineers) in developing another model incorporating appreciable technical advances.

The latest models were implanted in calves, showing adequate performance.It may seem to be an exaggeration to emphasize these qualities of a surgeon with the carat of Professor Jatene, but this made all the difference for the development of cardiac surgery in Brazil, now 200 centers and 100 thousand surgeries per year, covering from north to south and from east to west throughout the country. It was not what happened in most developing countries, which preferred to import the equipment. This made all the difference representing the embryo of the Brazilian industry in the cardiovascular area, which besides supplying the domestic market, exports to many countries, creating quality jobs.

The connection of Professor Adib with the University never ceased to exist. In 1983, with the retirement of his master, Professor Zerbini, Jatene wins memorable contest and becomes professor of cardiovascular surgery at the venerable educational institution, now fitted in a modern unit, INCOR, with more than 600 beds and the latest equipment, exclusively dedicated to teaching, research and medical and surgical treatment of cardiac patients.

Jatene always stood out in this new challenge, implementing his way to work for results. He was Director of the Medical School from 1990 to 1994, the position of high relevance for a teacher with many merits. He retired from INCOR and USP in 1999 as Emeritus Professor, after having been dedicated to his alma mater for 16 years! Jatene's retirement meant little in relation to his surgical activity. Besides all the activities in public governmental organizations, Professor Adib at the invitation of the Syrian Sanatorium Association takes over in 1986 as its Director.

Today HCor is a large complex Hospital, with special focus of activity in Cardiac Surgery. Jatene continued his activities as a surgeon in this hospital, non-profit, which allowed him to continue in full activity by 2014, along with their children who, like him, are also Cardiac Surgeons: Fábio Jatene, Professor, University of São Paulo (INCOR), Marcelo Jatene, Associate Professor, responsible for Children's Heart Surgery also at the University of São Paulo (INCOR) and his daughter Ieda Jatene, Pediatric Cardiologist. In his fruitful existence Professor Jatene personally operated more than 20,000 patients and under his leadership the teams who led operated more than 100,000 heart diseases. He is the author and co-author of about 800 scientific studies published in national and international literature In surgical field Jatene had impactful contributions: In 1962 implanted the first aortic valve manufactured in Brazil.

In 1970 he performed the first coronary artery bypass grafting, having had a conspicuous contribution in this field. On May 8, 1975 Jatene surprised the scientific world for having operated the first patient with a new technique he described as Anatomic correction of transposition of the great arteries: it became known as "Jatene's operation". This pioneering technique was responsible for the advent of a new subspecialty: The Heart Surgery of Neonates, with all framework of its complexity during surgery and after surgery, providing further development of Surgical Intensive Care Units specialized in neonates. The subspecialty crystallized new specialists: Cardiac surgeons and Infant Neonatologists with specific training in the area.



Today, thousands of patients benefit from this operation and these achievements, which returns the cardiac anatomy to critically ill newborns. In 1984 he received the prestigious title of "Honorary Member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery". In 1985 he was "Honorary Guest" of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. On this occasion he presented the study on reconstruction of the left ventricle in patients with ventricular aneurysm. This technique was innovative in this field, and the concept of ventricular reconstruction for the treatment of aneurysms and heart failure.



1981 Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery of the Brazilian Society of Cardiology

1984 Founder and first President of the Brazilian Society of Cardiovascular Surgery

1985 President of the Brazilian Society of Cardiology.

1986 President of the International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery

1986 First Editor of the Brazilian Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery.



1989 Titular Member of the National Academy of Medicine.

1998 "Honorary Fellow" of the American Surgical Association.

2002 "Honorary Felloswship" of the European Association for CardioThoracic Surgery.

2003 "Golden Hippocrates International Prize for Excellency in Medicine" at Horev Medical Center (Haifa-Israel).

2003 Award "Talal El Zein" by the Mediterranean Association of Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery.

2006 Award "Fundação Conrado Wessel de Medicina 2005".

2007 "Seven Wise Men of the World in Cardiovascular Surgery".

2008 Knowledge Medal Award, Category Managers/Researchers by the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade.

2011 "Bakulev Award for Cardiovascular Surgery" (Moscow).

2012 "Commendation Sérgio Arouca" for the ethical performance and social commitment to Medicine.

Member of 32 scientific societies in many parts of the world. He received 178 Titles and Honors of various countries, of which we cite only the most important.



-Cardiomioplastia Dinâmica no Brasil. São Paulo Ed. Atheneu, 1999

-Medicina, Saúde e Sociedade Ed. Atheneu, 2005

-Cartas a um Jovem Médico Elsevier, Ed. Campus, 2007

-40 Anos de Medicina O que mudou? Ed. Saberes, 2011



Believing in the scope of Public Health, even apolitical, he assumed government positions.

1979-1982 State Secretary of Health of São Paulo in the Government of Paulo Maluf.

Designed to 490 health centers and 40 Hospitals for the Greater São Paulo.

1992 Minister of Health in the management of Fernando Collor.

1996-1998 Minister of Health in the management of Fernando Henrique Cardoso.



When young, Adib was a good sportsman, during college he was much in demand for the competitions of the famous Mac-Med, a dispute, now centennial, between the Mackenzie and Medicine Course of USP. He excelled in many sports, especially in rowing in competitions in Rio Tietê. He continued throughout his life to work out. He also had artistic sensibility, and especially fond of Modern Art Week artists, such as Di Cavalcanti, Alfredo Volpi and Tarsila do Amaral, among many others that adorned his well selected collection. By its Amazonian origin, he took a great love for the land, he immensely enjoyed his own farms, dedicating to the most diverse cultures. He had greater preference for livestock, being a creator of the first magnitude, quite prized for his Nelore cattle herds, which he was also an interested connoisseur.



  • "I am against this saying - I don't do because I have no conditions. If you are able to do you create the conditions."
  • "I never discuss problem, there are people who are lost in the discussion of the problem. I just discuss solution."
  • "The secret is to find the way. And research is to find the way."
  • "What kills is not the work, but the rage!"
  • "Envy, vanity and excessive nervousness are bad for the heart."
  • "I never complain. The present is fantastic."
  • "The doctor's role is to alleviate the suffering and distress of the people. In this profession, universal values such as faith, love and solidarity, must be above private interests."
  • "The biggest problem of poor people is they do know only other poor people. There's no one for them!"

He leaves a copy family:

His wife Aurice, four children: Fábio, Marcelo, Ieda (doctors) and Iara (architect), husbands and daughters, ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.



Acessos ao site


  • Academia SBCCV
  • Evento Nacional
  • Evento Internacional