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Dr. Geoffrey Hartzler

Geoffrey O. Hartzler

Interventional cardiologist / Cardiologist
St Luke's Hospital - Kansas City, United States

Geoff Hartzler (1946-2012)

Dr. Hartzler was a pioneer in the development of interventional cardiology. He received his medical degree from the University of Indiana and did his residency and fellowship in Cardiology at the Mayo Clinic, with an emphasis on electrophysiology. He performed the first coronary angioplasty at the Mayo Clinic in 1979. He joined Barry Rutherford, his former mentor from the Mayo Clinic , at the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri in 1980 with the aims of developing a premier PTCA program.


Geoff first met Andreas Grüntzig in Miami in 1976, when Andreas presented his work on balloon angioplasty in dogs. He was very interested in Grüntzig’s procedure and followed his work. During his first 6 months in Kansas City, he performed 55 angioplasty procedures, which represented one of the world’s largest experiences at the time.


Geoff pioneered the field of myocardial infarction angioplasty after performing the world’s first angioplasty during a myocardial infarction in August 1980. He dilated the patient’s occluded middle LAD coronary artery with a Grüntzig balloon catheter and evidence of cardiac ischemia quickly resolved. Geoff was a strong supporter of primary angioplasty for acute myocardial infarctions. Despite all the criticism and skepticism, Geoff established guidelines for AMI management that are still recognized today as class IA recommendations.


Geoff was known for being a great teacher and he initially had workshops for 20 to 30 physicians. Those sessions were eventually expanded to include 300 to 400 physicians each year, helping an entire generation of interventional cardiologists learn these new skills and techniques. Geoff loved motorcycles and was a bass player in the Kansas City band, Heart Rock, which he created.