American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
Hugo Katus, MD
2006 Award for Outstanding Contributions in a Selected Area of Research

Dr. Katus is chief of internal medicine and director of the cardiovascular medicine department of the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

He is president-elect of the Academy of Cardiology of the German Society of Cardiology and editor of Clinical Research in Cardiology (formerly Zeitschrift für Kardiologie), the official journal of the German Cardiac Society. After years of work in the field, in 1984 he was the first to develop a cardiac-specific troponin assay that demonstrated in initial clinical trials the superior performance of this marker in patients with suspected myocardial infarction. In cooperation with Boehringer Mannheim (now Roche Diagnostics), he improved the analytical performance of the troponin T assay to make it useful for large-scale clinical chemistry testing.

He holds with Roche Diagnostics an international patent on the troponin T assay. In cooperation with clinical partners, he then showed the superior performance of the troponin T assay in large randomized multi-center trials. These results documented for the first time the clinical significance of minor myocardial injury, which had remained undetected by CK-MB isoenzyme analyses. This work has markedly affected the diagnostic approaches in suspected myocardial injury and led to a new definition of myocardial infarction, which is now based on a troponin standard. Troponin measurements have also proven useful for diagnosis and risk stratification in various other disorders, such as myocarditis, heart failure, end-stage renal disease, and pulmonary embolism.

In the recent years, Dr. Katus’ scientific interests have shifted to the genetic basis of cardiomyopathies and heart failure. He now serves as coordinator of the cardiovascular genomic research initiative of the German Ministry of Science.