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3. Important Events

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June 16, 1948. President Harry S. Truman signs the National Heart Act, creating the NHI in the Public Health Service (PHS), with the National Advisory Heart Council as its advisory body.

July 7, 1948. Dr. Paul Dudley White is selected to be “Executive Director of the National Advisory Heart Council and Chief Medical Advisor to the National Heart Institute” under section 4b of the National Heart Act.

August 1, 1948. The NHI is established as an institute of the NIH by Surgeon General Leonard A. Scheele. As legislated in the National Heart Act, the NHI assumes responsibility for heart research, training, and administration. Intramural research projects in CVD and gerontology conducted else­where in the NIH are transferred to the NHI. The Director of the NHI assumes all leadership for the total PHS heart program. Dr. Cassius J. Van Slyke is appointed as the first Director of the NHI.

August 29, 1948. Surgeon General Scheele announces the membership of the first National Advisory Heart Council. Varying terms of member­ship for the 16-member Council commence September 1.

September 8, 1948.  The National Advisory Heart Council holds its first meeting.

January 1949. Cooperative Research Units are established at four institutions: the University of California, the University of Minnesota, Tulane University, and Massachusetts General Hospital.  Pending completion of the NHI’s own research organization and facilities, the Units are jointly financed by the NIH and the institutions.

July 1, 1949. The NHI Intramural Research Program is established and organized on three gen­eral research levels consisting of three laboratory sections, five laboratory–clinical sections, and four clinical sections. The Heart Disease Epidemiology Study at Framingham, Massachusetts, is transferred from the Bureau of State Services, PHS, to the NHI.

January 18–20, 1950. The NHI and the American Heart Association jointly sponsor the first National Conference on Cardiovascular Diseases to summarize current knowledge and to make recommendations concerning further prog­ress against heart and blood vessel diseases.

December 1, 1952.  Dr. James Watt is appointed Director of the NHI, succeeding Dr. Van Slyke, who is appointed Associate Director of the NIH.

July 6, 1953. The Clinical Center admits its first patient for heart disease research.

July 1, 1957. The first members of the NHI Board of Scientific Counselors begin their terms. The Board was established in 1956 "to provide advice on matters of general policy, particularly from a long-range viewpoint, as they relate to the intramural research program."

February 19, 1959. The American Heart Association and the NHI present a report to the Nation—A Decade of Progress Against Cardiovascular Disease.

April 21, 1961. The President’s Conference on Heart Disease and Cancer, whose participants on March 15 were requested by President John F. Kennedy to assist "in charting the Government’s further role in a national attack on these diseases," convenes at the White House and submits its report.

September 11, 1961.  Dr. Ralph E. Knutti is appointed Director of the NHI, succeeding Dr. Watt, who becomes head of international activities for the PHS.

December 30, 1963. February is designated as "American Heart Month" by a unanimous joint reso­lution of Congress with approval from President Lyndon B. Johnson.

November 22–24, 1964. The Second National Conference on Cardiovascular Diseases—cospon­sored by the American Heart Association, the NHI, and the Heart Disease Control Program of the PHS— is held to evaluate progress since the 1950 Conference and to assess needs and goals for continued and accelerated growth against heart and blood vessel diseases.

December 9, 1964.  The President’s Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke—appointed by President Johnson on March 7, 1964—submits its report to "recommend steps that can be taken to reduce the bur­den and incidence of these diseases."

August 1, 1965. Dr. William H. Stewart assumes the Directorship of the NHI upon Dr. Knutti’s retirement.

September 24, 1965.  Dr. William H. Stewart, NHI Director, is named Surgeon General of the PHS.

October 6, 1965.  In FY 1966, Supplemental Appro­priations Act (P.L. 89–199) allocates funds to implement the recommendations of the President’s Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke that are within exist­ing legislative authorities. The NHI is given $5.05 mil­lion for new clinical training programs, additional graduate training grants, cardiovascular clinical research centers on cerebrovascular disease and thrombotic and hemorrhagic disorders, and planning grants for future specialized cardiovascular centers.

March 8, 1966.  Dr. Robert P. Grant succeeds Dr. Stewart as Director of the NHI.  Dr. Grant serves until his death on August 15, 1966.

November 6, 1966.  Dr. Donald S. Fredrickson is appointed Director of the NHI.

March 15, 1968.  Dr. Theodore Cooper succeeds Dr. Fredrickson as Director of the NHI, the latter electing to return to research activities with the Institute.

October 16, 1968.  Dr. Marshall W. Nirenberg is awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering the key to deciphering the genetic code. Dr. Nirenberg, chief of the NHI Laboratory of Biochem­ical Genetics, is the first Nobel Laureate at the NIH and the first Federal employee to receive a Nobel Prize.

October 26, 1968.  The NHI receives the National Hemophilia Foundation’s Research and Scientific Achievement Award for its "medical leadership…, tremendous stimulation and support of research activities directly related to the study and treatment of hemophilia."

November 14, 1968.  The 20th anniversary of the NHI is commemorated at the White House under the auspices of President Johnson and other distinguished guests.

August 12, 1969. A major NHI reorganization plan creates five program branches along disease category lines in extramural programs (arteriosclerotic disease, cardiac disease, pulmonary disease, hypertension and kidney diseases, and thrombotic and hemorrhagic dis­eases); a Therapeutic Evaluations Branch and an Epidemiology Branch under the Associate Director for Clinical Applications; and three offices in the Office of the Director (heart information, program planning, and administrative management).

November 10, 1969.  The NHI is redesignated by the Secretary, Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), as the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI), reflecting a broadening scope of its functions.

February 18, 1971. President Richard M. Nixon’s Health Message to Congress identifies sickle cell anemia as a high-priority disease and calls for increased Federal expenditures. The Assistant Secretary for Health and Scientific Affairs, HEW, is assigned lead-Agency respon­sibility for coordination of the National Sickle Cell Disease Program at the NIH and NHLI.

June 1971. The Task Force on Arteriosclerosis, convened by Dr. Cooper, presents its report.  Volume I addresses general aspects of the problem and presents the major conclusions and recommendations in nontechnical language. Volume II contains technical information on the state of knowledge and conclusions and recommen­dations in each of the following areas: atherogenesis, presymptomatic atherosclerosis, overt atherosclerosis, and rehabilitation.

May 16, 1972. The National Sickle Cell Anemia Control Act (P.L. 92–294) provides for a national diagno­sis, control, treatment, and research program. The Act does not mention the NHLI but has special pertinence because the Institute has been designated to coordinate the National Sickle Cell Disease Program.

June 12, 1972. Elliot Richardson, Secretary, HEW, approves a nationwide program for high blood pressure information and education and appoints two committees to implement the program: the Hypertension Information and Education Advisory Committee, chaired by the Director, NIH, and the Interagency Working Group, chaired by the Director, NHLI.  A High Blood Pressure Information Center is established within the NHLI Office of Information to collect and disseminate public and professional information about the disease.

July 1972. The NHLI launches its National High Blood Pressure Education Program (NHBPEP), a pro­gram of patient and professional education that has as its goal to reduce death and disability related to high blood pressure.

July 14, 1972. Secretary Richardson approves reorganization of the NHLI, with the Institute elevated to Bureau status within the NIH and comprising seven division-level components: Office of the Director, Division of Heart and Vascular Diseases (DHVD), DLD, DBDR, DIR, Division of Technological Applications, and Division of Extramural Affairs (DEA). 

September 19, 1972.  The National Heart, Blood Vessel, Lung, and Blood Act of 1972 (P.L. 92–423) expands the authority of the Institute to advance the national attack on the diseases within its mandate. The act calls for intensified and coordinated Institute activi­ties to be planned by the Director and reviewed by the National Heart and Lung Advisory Council.

July 24, 1973. The first Five-Year Plan for the National Heart, Blood Vessel, Lung, and Blood Program is transmitted to the President and to Congress.

December 17, 1973.  The National Heart and Lung Advisory Council completes its First Annual Report on the National Program.

February 13, 1974. The Director of the NHLI for­wards his First Annual Report on the National Program to the President for transmittal to Congress.

April 5, 1974. The Assistant Secretary for Health, HEW, authorizes release of the Report to the President by the President’s Advisory Panel on Heart Disease.  The report of the 20-member panel, chaired by Dr. John S. Millis, includes a survey of the problem of heart and blood vessel disorders and panel recommendations to reduce illness and death from them.

August 2, 1974. The Secretary, HEW, approves regulations governing the establishment, support, and opera­tion of National Research and Demonstration Centers for heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases, which implement section 415(b) of the PHS Act, as amended by the National Heart, Blood Vessel, Lung, and Blood Act of 1972: (1) to carry out basic and clinical research on heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; (2) to provide demonstrations of advanced methods of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment; and (3) to supply a training source for scientists and physicians concerned with the diseases.

September 16, 1975. Dr. Robert I. Levy is appointed Director of the NHLI, succeeding Dr. Theodore Cooper, who was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, HEW, on April 19, 1974.

June 25, 1976. Legislation amending the PHS Act (P.L. 94–278) changes the name of the NHLI to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and provides for an expansion in blood-related activities within the Institute and throughout the National Heart, Blood Vessel, Lung, and Blood Program. 

August 1, 1977. The Biomedical Research Extension Act of 1977 (P.L. 95–83) reauthorizes the programs of the NHLBI, with continued emphasis on both the national program and related prevention and dissemination activities.

February 1978. The NHLBI and the American Heart Association jointly celebrate their 30th anniversaries.

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September 1979. The Task Force on Hypertension, established in September 1975 to assess the state of hypertension research, completes its in-depth survey and recommendations for improved prevention, treatment, and control in 14 major areas. The recommendations are intended to guide the NHLBI in its future efforts.

November 1979. The results of the Hypertension Detection and Follow-Up Program (HDFP), a major clinical trial started in 1971, provide evidence that tens of thousands of lives are being saved through treatment of mild hypertension and that perhaps thousands more could be saved annually if all people with mild hypertension were under treatment.

November 21, 1980. The Albert Lasker Special Public Health Award is presented to the NHLBI for its HDFP, "which stands alone among clinical studies in its profound potential benefit to millions of people."

December 17, 1980. The Health Programs Extension Act of 1980 (P.L. 96–538) reauthorizes the NHLBI, with continued emphasis on both the national program and related prevention programs.

September 8, 1981. The Working Group on Arteriosclerosis—convened in 1978 to assess present understanding, highlight unresolved problems, and emphasize opportunities for future research in arteriosclerosis—completes its report. Volume I presents con­clusions and recommendations in nontechnical language. Volume II provides an in-depth substantive basis for the conclusions and recommendations contained in Volume I.

October 2, 1981. The Beta-Blocker Heart Attack Trial (BHAT) demonstrates benefits to those in the trial who received the drug propranolol compared with the control group.

July 6, 1982. Dr. Claude Lenfant is appointed Director of the NHLBI. He succeeds Dr. Levy.

September 1982. The results of the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial are released.  They support measures to reduce cigarette smoking and to lower blood cholesterol to prevent coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality but raise questions about optimal treatment of mild hypertension.

October 26, 1983. The Coronary Artery Surgery Study (CASS) results are released.  They demonstrate that mildly symptomatic patients with coronary artery disease can safely defer coronary artery bypass surgery until symptoms worsen.

January 12, 1984. The results of the Lipid Research Clinics Coronary Primary Prevention Trial (LRC-CPPT) are released. They establish conclusively that reducing total blood cholesterol reduces the risk of CHD in men at increased risk because of elevated cholesterol levels.  Each 1 percent decrease in cholesterol can be expected to reduce heart attack risk by 2 percent.

April–September 1984. The Tenth Report of the Director, NHLBI, commemorates the 10th anniversary of the passage of the National Heart, Blood Vessel, Lung, and Blood Act.  The five-volume publication reviews 10 years of research progress and presents a 5-year research plan for the national program.

April 1984. The Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications (DECA) is created.  It provides the Institute with a single focus on clinical trials; prevention, demonstration, and education programs; behavioral medicine; nutrition; epidemiology; and biometry.  It also provides new opportunities to examine the interrelationships of cardiovascular, respiratory, and blood diseases.

November 1984.  An NHLBI–NIH Clinical Center inter-Agency agreement for studies on the transmission of HIV from humans to chimpanzees leads to the first definitive evidence that the transmission is by blood transfusion.

April 1985. Results of Phase I of the Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) trial comparing streptokinase (SK) with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) are published.  The new thrombolytic agent recombinant t-PA is approximately twice as effec­tive as SK in opening thrombosed coronary arteries.

October 1985.  The NHLBI Smoking Education Program is initiated to increase health care provider awareness about clinical opportunities for smoking ces­sation programs, techniques for use within health care settings, and resources for use within communities to expand and reinforce such efforts.

October 14, 1985.  NHLBI-supported researchers Michael S. Brown and Joseph L. Goldstein are awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their dis­coveries concerning the regulation of cholesterol metabolism.

November 1985.  The NHLBI inaugurates the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) to increase awareness among health professionals and the public that elevated blood cholesterol is a cause of CHD and that reducing elevated blood cholesterol levels will contribute to the reduction of CHD.

June 1986. Results of the Prophylactic Penicillin Trial demonstrate the efficacy of prophylactic penicillin therapy in reducing the morbidity and mortality associ­ated with pneumococcal infections in children with SCD.

September 18, 1986.  The NHLBI sponsors events on the NIH campus in conjunction with the meeting of the X World Congress of Cardiology in Washington, DC.  Activities include a special exhibit at the National Library of Medicine titled "American Contributions to Cardiovascular Medicine and Surgery" and two symposia—"New Dimensions in Cardiovascular Disease Research" and "Cardiovascular Nursing and Nursing Research."

December 17, 1986.  The citizens of Framingham, Massachusetts, are presented a tribute by the Assistant Secretary, HHS, for their participation in the Framing­ham Heart Study over the past 40 years.

September 1987. The NHLBI commemorates the centennial of the NIH and the 40th anniversary of the Institute’s inception.  Two publications prepared for the Institute’s anniversary—Forty Years of Achievement in Heart, Lung, and Blood Research and A Salute to the Past: A History of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute—document significant Institute contributions to research and summarize recollections about the Institute’s 40-year history.

October 1987. The National Blood Resource Education Program is established to ensure an adequate supply of safe blood and blood components to meet the Nation’s needs and to ensure that blood and blood components are transfused only when therapeutically appropriate.

April 1988. The NHLBI initiates its Minority Research Supplements program to provide supplemental funds to ongoing research grants for support of minority investigators added to research teams.

September 1988. AIDS research is added to the National Heart, Blood Vessel, Lung, and Blood Diseases and Blood Resources Program. It is the first area of research to be added since the Program was established in 1973.

September 1988. The NHLBI funds the first of its new Programs of Excellence in Molecular Biology, designed to foster the study of the organization, modifi­cation, and expression of the genome in areas of impor­tance to the Institute and to encourage investigators to become skilled in the experimental strategies and tech­niques of modern molecular biology. 

September 1988. The Strong Heart Study is initiated. It focuses on CVD morbidity and mortality rates and dis­tribution of CVD risk factors in three geographically diverse American Indian groups. 

October 1988. The National Marrow Donor Program is transferred from the Department of the Navy to the NHLBI. The Program, which serves as a focal point for bone marrow research, includes a national registry of volunteers who have offered to donate marrow for trans­plant to patients not having suitably matched relatives.

March 1989. The NHLBI initiates a National Asthma Education Program to raise awareness of asthma as a serious chronic disease and to promote more effective management of asthma through patient and professional education.

May 1989. The NHLBI Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Summer Research Training Program is initiated to provide an opportunity for MARC Honors Scholars to work with researchers in the NHLBI intra­mural laboratories.

September 14, 1990. The first human gene therapy protocol in history is undertaken at the NIH. A team of scientists—led by W. French Anderson, NHLBI, and R. Michael Blaese, NCI—insert a normal gene into a patient’s cells to compensate for a defective gene that left the patient’s cells unable to produce an enzyme essential to the functioning of the body’s immune system.

January 1991. The NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative (OEI) begins. Its objective is to make a con­certed effort to educate the public and health profes­sionals about obesity as an independent risk factor for CVD and its relationship to other risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

February 1991. The expert panel of the National Asthma Education Program releases its report, Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Asthma, to educate physicians and other health care providers in asthma management.

April 8–10, 1991. The First National Conference on Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Control is attended by more than 1,800 health professionals.

May 1991. The Task Force on Hypertension, established in November 1989 to assess the state of hypertension research and to develop a plan for future NHLBI funding, presents its conclusions. The report outlines a set of scientific priorities and develops a comprehensive plan for support over the next several years.

June 11, 1991.  The NHLBI initiates a National Heart Attack Alert Program (NHAAP) to reduce premature morbidity and mortality from acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and sudden death. The Program emphasizes rapid disease identification and treatment.

July 1991. Results of the Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program (SHEP) demonstrate that low-dose pharmacologic therapy of isolated systolic hypertension in those older than 60 years of age significantly reduces stroke and myocardial infarction.

August 1991. Results of the Studies of Left Ventricular Dysfunction (SOLVD) are released.  They demonstrate that use of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor enalapril causes a significant reduction in mortality and hospitalization for congestive heart failure in patients with symptomatic heart failure.

August 1991. The NHLBI sponsors "Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Health: Special Emphasis on Women and Youth," the first national workshop to assess the current knowledge in the field and to develop scientific priorities and plans for support. Recommendations from the Working Groups are published in the supplemental issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

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March 1992. The International Consensus Report on Diagnosis and Management of Asthma is released. It is to be used by asthma specialists and medical opinion leaders to provide a framework for discussion of asthma management pertinent to their respective countries.

March 1992. Results of the Trials of Hypertension Prevention Phase I are published. They demonstrate that both weight loss and reduction of dietary salt reduce blood pressure in adults with high-normal diastolic blood pressure and may reduce the incidence of primary hypertension.

June 26–27, 1992. The Fourth National Minority Forum on Cardiovascular Health, Pulmonary Disorders, and Blood Resources is attended by nearly 600 individuals.

October 11–13, 1992.  The First National Conference on Asthma Management is attended by more than 900 individuals.

October 30, 1992.  A celebration of the 20th anniversary of the NHBPEP is held in conjunction with the NHBPEP Coordinating Committee meeting.  The Fifth Report of the Joint National Committee on the Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC V) and the NHBPEP Working Group Report on the Primary Prevention of Hypertension are released.

June 10, 1993. The NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (P.L. 103–43) establishes the NCSDR within the NHLBI.

June 15, 1993. The Second Report of the Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (ATP II) is released to the public at a press conference held in conjunction with the NCEP Coordinating Committee meeting.

January 30, 1995. Results of the Multicenter Study of Hydroxyurea (MSH) are released through a clinical alert. They demonstrate that hydroxyurea reduced the number of painful episodes by 50 percent in severely affected adults with SCD.  This is the first effective treat­ment for adult patients with this disorder.

September 1995. The NHLBI funds a new Program of Specialized Centers of Research in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Biology, which is designed to advance our knowledge of stem cell biology and enhance our ability to achieve successful stem cell therapy to cure genetic and acquired diseases.

September 21, 1995.  Results of the Bypass Angioplasty Revascularization Investigation are released through a clinical alert. They demonstrate that patients on drug treatment for diabetes who had blockages in two or more coronary arteries and were treated with coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery had, at 5 years, a death rate markedly lower than that of similar patients treated with angioplasty.  The clinical alert recommends CABG over standard angioplasty for patients on drug therapy for diabetes who have multiple coronary block­ages and are first-time candidates for either procedure.

November 5–6, 1995.  The first Conference on Socioeconomic Status (SES) and Cardiovascular Health and Disease is held to determine future opportunities and needs for research on SES factors and their relationships with cardiovascular health and disease.

December 4–5, 1995.  A celebration of the 10th anniversary of the NCEP is held in conjunction with the NCEP Coordinating Committee meeting.  Results of the 1995 Cholesterol Awareness Surveys of physicians and the public are released.

May 1996. The NHLBI announces results from the Framingham Heart Study that conclude earlier and more aggressive treatment of hypertension is vital to preventing congestive heart failure. The Treatment of Mild Hypertension Study (TOMHS) demonstrates that lifestyle changes—such as weight loss, a healthy eating plan, and physical activity—are crucial for reducing blood lipids in those treated for Stage I hypertension.

September 1996. Findings from the Asthma Clinical Research Network (ACRN) show that for people with asthma, taking an inhaled beta-agonist at regularly scheduled times is safe but provides no greater benefit than taking the medication only when asthma symptoms occur.  The recommendation to physicians who treat patients with mild asthma is to prescribe inhaled beta-agonists only on an as-needed basis.

November 13, 1996.  The NHLBI releases findings from two studies, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hyper­tension (DASH) Trial and Trial of Nonpharmacologic Intervention in the Elderly (TONE).  The DASH Trial demonstrates that a diet low in fat and high in vegetables, fruits, fiber, and low-fat dairy products significantly and quickly lowers blood pressure. The TONE shows that weight loss and reduction of dietary sodium safely reduce the need for antihypertensive medication in older patients while keeping their blood pressure under control.

January 1997. Definitive results from the Pathobiological Determinants of Atherosclerosis in Youth (PDAY) program are published.  They show that atherosclerosis develops before age 20 and that the following risk factors affect the progression of atherosclerosis equally in women and men, regardless of race: low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and cigarette smoking.

February 24, 1997. The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) releases the Expert Panel Report 2, Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma to the public at a press confer­ence held in conjunction with a meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology in San Francisco.

May 8, 1997. Results of the Antiarrhythmic Versus Implantable Defibrillator (AVID) clinical trial are pre­sented. They show that an implantable cardiac defibrilla­tor reduces mortality compared to pharmacologic therapy in patients at high risk for sudden cardiac death.

September 1997. The Stroke Prevention Trial in Sickle Cell Anemia (STOP) is terminated early because prophylactic transfusion resulted in a 90 percent relative decrease in the stroke rate among children 2 to 16 years old.

September 1997. The Institute’s National Sickle Cell Disease Program celebrates its 25th anniversary.

October 1997. The NHLBI commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Institute’s inception.  A publication prepared for the Institute’s anniversary—Vital Signs: Discoveries in Diseases of the Heart, Lungs, and Blood—documents the remarkable research advances of the past 50 years.

October 1, 1997.  The WHI, initiated in 1991, is transferred to the NHLBI.

November 6, 1997.  The Sixth Report of the Joint National Committee on the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC VI) is released at a press conference held in conjunction with the 25th anniversary meeting and celebration of the NHBPEP Coordinating Committee.

December 1997. Findings from the Trial To Reduce Alloimmunization to Platelets (TRAP) demonstrate that leucocyte reduction by filtration or ultraviolet B irradia­tion of platelets—both methods are equally effective— decreases development of lymphocytotoxic antibodies and alloimmune platelet refractoriness.

February 1998. The Task Force on Behavioral Research in Cardiovascular, Lung, and Blood Health and Disease—established in November 1995 to develop a plan for future NHLBI biobehavioral research in cardio­vascular, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders— presents its recommendations. The report outlines a set of scientific priorities and develops a comprehensive plan for support over the next several years.

February 19–21, 1998. The NHLBI and cosponsors—California CVD Prevention Coalition; California Department of Health Services; CVD Outreach, Resources, and Epidemiology Program; and the University of California, San Francisco—hold Cardiovascular Health: Coming Together for the 21st Century, A National Conference, in San Francisco.

March 16, 1998.  A special symposium is held at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology to celebrate 50 years of NHLBI-supported science.

June 17, 1998. The NHLBI, in cooperation with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), releases Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Treatment, and Evaluation of Overweight and Obesity in Adults:  Evidence Report.

December 11, 1998.  World Asthma Day is established on this date. The NAEPP launches the Asthma Management Model System, an innovative Web-based information management tool.

March 1999. The ARDS Network Study of Ventilator Management in ARDS is stopped early so that critical care specialists can be alerted to the results. The study demonstrated that approximately 25 percent fewer deaths occurred among intensive care patients with ARDS receiving small, rather than large, breaths of air from a mechanical ventilator. 

March 22, 1999.  The NAEPP holds its 10th anniversary meeting and celebration to recognize a decade of progress and a continued commitment to the future.

August 1999. Results of the Early Revascularization for Cardiogenic Shock are released. They show improved survival at 6 months in patients treated with balloon angioplasty or coronary bypass surgery compared with patients who receive intensive medical care to stabilize their condition.

September 27–29, 1999.  The NHLBI sponsors the National Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: Meeting the Healthy People 2010 Objectives for Cardiovascular Health.

November 2, 1999.  The NAEPP convenes a Workshop on Strengthening Asthma Coalitions:  Thinking Globally, Acting Locally to gather information from coalition representatives on ways the NAEPP could support their efforts. 

November 2–3, 1999.  The NHLBI sponsors a Workshop on Research Training and Career Development.

March 8, 2000. A part of the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment To Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT) is terminated early because one of the tested drugs, an alpha-adrenergic blocker, was found to be less effective than the more traditional diuretic in reducing some forms of CVD.

March 29, 2000.  The NHLBI launches the Web-based Healthy People 2010 Gateway to provide information and resources on cardiovascular health, asthma, sleep, and minority populations.

April 25, 2000. The NHLBI sponsors a special expert meeting, Scientific Frontiers in Cardiothoracic Surgery, to discuss the future of cardiothoracic research.

September 2000. NHLBI-supported investigators identify a gene for primary pulmonary hypertension.

October 2000. Results from the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP) demonstrate that inhaled corticosteroids are safe and effective for long-term treat­ment of children with mild-to-moderate asthma.

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January 2001. Results of the DASH-Sodium Trial are released. They show that dietary sodium reduction substantially lowers blood pressure in persons with high blood pressure; the greatest effect occurs when sodium reduction is combined with the DASH diet.

February 2001. The NHLBI launches a sleep education program for children, using star sleeper Garfield the Cat.

February 1, 2001. The NHLBI—along with the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the Office of the Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the NINDS, and the American Heart Association—signs a memorandum of understanding to focus and coordinate their efforts to meet the Healthy People 2010 objectives on cardiovascu­lar health.

March 26–27, 2001.  A strategy development work­shop, "Women’s Heart Health:  Developing a National Health Education Action Plan," is held to develop an agenda for the NHLBI’s new heart health education effort directed at women.

April 2001. The NHLBI releases the international guidelines for diagnosis, management, and prevention of COPD.

April 2001. NHLBI-supported investigators identify genes that regulate human cholesterol levels.

May 2001. The NHLBI releases the NCEP’s Third Report of the Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (ATP III).

June 2001. NHLBI-supported investigators find that human heart muscle cells regenerate after a heart attack.

July 2001. A self-contained artificial heart is implanted in a patient for the first time.

August 2001. Early results from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT) identify character­istics of patients at high risk for death following lung volume reduction surgery.    

August 2001. Scientists from the NHLBI SCOR program at Yale University identify two genes responsible for pseudohypoaldosteronism type II, a rare Mendelian form of high blood pressure. These genes encode for protein kinases involved in a previously unknown pathway and may provide new targets for therapy.

September 10, 2001.  The NHLBI, along with the American Heart Association and other partners, launches "Act in Time to Heart Attack Signs," a national campaign to increase awareness of the signs of heart attack and the need for a fast response.

October 2001. NHLBI-supported scientists report that the drug, infliximab, increases risk of TB reactiva­tion and dissemination. The drug is used to treat refractory rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease and is proposed as a treatment for several chronic lung diseases.

November 2001. Results of the Randomized Evaluation of Mechanical Assistance for the Treatment of Chronic Heart Failure Trial demonstrate that using an implanted left ventricular assist device can prolong survival and improve quality of life in severely ill patients who are not candidates for heart transplantation.

December 2001. For the first time, scientists correct SCD in mice using gene therapy.

April 10, 2002. The World Hypertension League (WHL) and the NHLBI hold an international symposium; subsequently they prepare an action plan at the WHL Council Conference to control hypertension and obesity.

April 11–13, 2002.  The NHLBI and cosponsors—the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the CDC, the American Heart Association, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Health Resources and Services Administration—hold a national conference, "Cardiovascular Health for All:  Meeting the Challenge of Healthy People 2010."

June 2002. The NAEPP issues an update of selected topics in the Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma.

June 2002. The fourth edition of The Management of Sickle Cell Disease, which describes the current approach to counseling SCD patients and managing many of the medical complications of SCD, is issued to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the NHLBI Sickle Cell Program.

July 9, 2002. The NHLBI stops early the trial of the estrogen plus progestin component of the WHI due to increased breast cancer risk and lack of overall benefits. The multicenter trial also found increases in CHD, stroke, and pulmonary embolism in participants on estro­gen plus progestin compared to women taking placebo pills.

August 2002. NHLBI-supported scientists identify a gene variant that is associated with arrhythmia in blacks.

December 4, 2002.  Results of the Atrial Fibrillation Follow-Up Investigation of Rhythm Management Trial (AFFIRM) indicate that rate control rather than rhythm control may be the preferred approach for patients with atrial fibrillation. The rate control strategy involves the use of less expensive drugs and results in fewer hospitalizations.

December 17, 2002.  Results of the ALLHAT, the largest hypertension clinical trial ever conducted, show that less expensive traditional diuretics are at least as good as newer medicines (calcium channel blocker and ACE inhibitors) in treating high blood pressure and preventing some forms of heart disease.

January 23, 2002. An NHLBI-supported study demonstrates that magnetic resonance imaging can be used to detect heart attacks faster and more accurately than traditional methods in patients who arrive at the emergency room with chest pain.

February 24, 2002. The Prevention of Recurrent Venous Thromboembolism Trial is stopped early because treatment with low-dose warfarin to prevent recurrence of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism was so beneficial.

April 2003. Results of the MSH Patients’ Follow-Up Study show that the adult patients who took hydroxyurea over a 9-year period experienced a 40 percent reduction in deaths. Survival was related to fetal hemoglobin levels and frequency of vaso-occlusive events.

April 23, 2003. Results of the PREMIER trial of behavioral lifestyle interventions for blood pressure control show that individuals with prehypertension or stage I hypertension can lower their blood pressure by making multiple lifestyle changes.

May 14, 2003. The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC VII) is released. 

May 22, 2003. The NETT finds that lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) benefits emphysema patients with certain clinical characteristics. The findings will be useful in the determination of Medicare coverage policy.

July 2003. The NHLBI and Gen-Probe Corporation succeed in developing a test to screen donated blood for the West Nile Virus.

August 2003. The NHLBI establishes a partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to advance research on cardiovascular, respiratory, and blood diseases.

November 2003. The Public Access Defibrillation Trial demonstrates that use of an automated external defibrillator and CPR by trained community volunteers can increase survival for victims of sudden cardiac arrest.

March 2004. The NIH stops the estrogen-alone component of the WHI early due to the increased risk of stroke and deep vein thrombosis. Estrogen does not appear to affect heart disease. 

March 2004. Preliminary results of the Sudden Cardiac Death in Heart Failure Trial demonstrate that an implantable cardiac defibrillator can reduce death in heart failure patients.

July 2004. The NHLBI releases an update to the 2001 NCEP ATP III guidelines on the treatment of high blood cholesterol in adults.

August 2004. The NHBPEP Working Group on High Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents releases the Fourth Report on the Diagnosis, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents.

August 2004. An NHLBI-funded study shows that nucleic acid amplification testing for HIV-1 and hepatitis C virus (HCV) further safeguards the Nation’s blood supply.

October 2004. Results from a new study of adults with mild asthma by researchers participating in the ACRN demonstrate that genes affect patient response, over time, to daily doses of inhaled albuterol, a drug used for relief of acute asthma symptoms. A few weeks of its regular use improves overall asthma control in individuals with one form of the gene, but stopping all use of albuterol eventually improves asthma control in those with another form of the gene. The findings could lead to better ways to individualize asthma therapy.

November 2004. Results of the Prevention of Events With Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibition (PEACE) demonstrate that many heart disease patients who are already receiving state-of-the-art therapy do not gain extra cardiovascular protection from ACE inhibitors.

December 2004. The NHLBI stops early the Stroke Prevention in Sickle Cell Anemia Trial II (STOP II) so that physicians who treat children with sickle cell anemia can be alerted to its findings. STOP II, which is a study to determine whether children with sickle cell anemia and at high risk for stroke could at some point safely stop receiving the periodic blood transfusions that prevent strokes, shows that children revert to high risk for stroke when transfusions are stopped.

January 2005. The NHLBI issues new guidelines for managing asthma during pregnancy.

January 2005. Results from Sudden Cardiac Death in Heart Failure (SCD-HeFT) show that patients with class II or class III heart failure and left ventricular ejection fraction of 35 percent or less have improved survival with implantable cardiac defibrillators. There is no benefit with amiodarone.

January 26, 2005. Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel is appointed Director of the NHLBI. She succeeds Dr. Claude Lenfant.

February 2005. NHLBI-supported scientists identify two genetic mutations common in individuals of African descent that are associated with a 40 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol.

June 1, 2005. HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt announces the launch of We Can!, Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition, a national education program from the NIH to prevent overweight and obesity among youth ages 8–13 years.

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February 15, 2006. Results from the WHI Calcium and Vitamin D Trial show that calcium and vitamin D supplements in healthy postmenopausal women provide a modest improvement in bone mass preservation and prevent hip fractures in certain groups, including older women, but do not prevent other types of fractures or colorectal cancer.

May 10, 2006. Results from the Childhood Asthma Research and Education (CARE) Network show that daily treatment with inhaled corticosteroids can reduce breathing problems in preschool-aged children at high risk for asthma, but does not prevent them from develop­ing persistent asthma.

May 31, 2006. The Prospective Investigation of Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosis (PIOPED) II finds that the ability to diagnose pulmonary embolism is improved when a commonly used imaging test of the chest to detect potentially deadly blood clots in the lung is complemented by an extension of the scan to the legs— where the clots typically originate—or by a standard clinical assessment.

June 6, 2006. Results from the Should We Emergently Revascularize Occluded Coronaries for Cardiogenic Shock (SHOCK) trial show that treating heart attack patients who have a life-threatening complication called cardiogenic shock with emergency angioplasty or bypass surgery greatly improves their long-term survival.

July 18, 2006. NHLBI scientists find that a hormone called brain natriuretic peptide or BNP, which can be detected in a simple blood test, can identify patients with SCD who have developed a life-threatening complication called pulmonary hypertension. The hormone is also a predictor of death in adult sickle cell patients.

July 26, 2006. Results from two randomized clinical trials demonstrate that inhaled nitric oxide administered within the first few weeks of life helps prevent chronic lung disease in some low birthweight premature infants. Moreover, when administered within 48 hours after birth, it appears to protect some premature newborns from brain injury.

September 19, 2006.  The NHLBI launches a periph­eral artery disease awareness and education campaign, "Stay in Circulation: Take Steps To Learn About P.A.D." (peripheral artery disease).

January 18, 2007. The NHLBI launches the Learn More Breathe Better campaign to increase COPD awareness among primary care physicians and the public.

August 29, 2007. The NAEPP issues the Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma—Full Report 2007, an update of the latest scientific evidence and recommendations for clinical practice on asthma care.

October 1, 2007. The NHLBI launches an open access dataset for researchers worldwide. Known as SNP Health Association Resource (SHARe), the Web-based dataset will enable qualified researchers to access data from large population-based studies, starting with the landmark Framingham Heart Study.  It is expected to accelerate discoveries linking genes and health, thereby advancing understanding of the causes and prevention of CVD and other disorders.

October 8, 2007.  Mario Capecchi and Oliver Smithies, who are researchers supported by the NHLBI, are awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their creation of a gene-targeting technique that allows scientists to create transgenic mice that are geneti­cally modified to develop human diseases.

December 3, 2007.  The NHLBI announces a new strategic plan to guide its next decade of research, training, and education to reduce the national burden of cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders.

December 10, 2007.  Results of the Occluded Artery Trial (OAT) are incorporated into practice guidelines:  The American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association’s 2007 Focused Update of the 2004 Guidelines for the Management of Patients With ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction. The guidelines discourage percutaneous coronary intervention of a totally occluded artery late in the course of myocardial infarc­tion in the absence of symptoms if patients are stable and do not have evidence of severe ischemia.

January 28, 2008. Results from the ALLHAT demonstrate that in people—especially blacks—who have high blood pressure as part of metabolic syndrome, diuretics offer greater protection against CVD, including heart failure, and are at least as effective for lowering blood pressure as newer, more expensive medications.

February 2008. The NHLBI stops one treatment arm of the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) clinical trial of adults who have type 2 diabetes at high risk for heart attack and stroke after a review of available data showed that participants following a medical strategy to lower blood glucose below current recommendations to near-normal levels increased the risk of death compared with a standard treatment strategy.  All participants now follow a medical strategy to reach the standard blood sugar levels while the lipid and blood pressure components of the study continue.

February 2008. An independent panel convened by the NIH concludes that the use of hydroxyurea for treating SCD should be increased among adolescents and adults who have the disease.

February 29, 2008. The NHLBI issues the first U.S. guidelines for the diagnosis and management of von Willebrand Disease, the most common inherited bleeding disorder.

March 2008. The NHLBI announces a comprehensive restructuring of its SCD research program to take advantage of new scientific opportunities and make SCD resources more widely available.

March 4, 2008.  The WHI Follow-up Study confirms that the health risks of long-term combination hormone therapy outweigh the benefits for postmenopausal women. Researchers report that about 3 years after women stopped taking combination hormone therapy, many of the health effects of hormones—such as increased risk of heart disease—are diminished but overall risks of stroke, blood clots, and cancer remain high.

March 5, 2008. Scientists report that they have identified the variants of the gene VKORC1 that determine a patient’s initial response to treatment with the blood-thinning (anticoagulant) drug warfarin. The finding is expected to enhance the ability of physicians to tailor the dosage of warfarin for individual patients.

April 2008. NHLBI-supported researchers identify gene variants associated with increased susceptibility to asthma and reduced lung function in three study populations. Risk for developing asthma is linked to variants in a gene called CHI3L1, which can be measured by checking levels of an inherited blood protein that it regulates.

April 8, 2008. Results from the Stop Atherosclerosis in Native Diabetic Study (SANDS) show that aggressively lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels below current targets in adults with type 2 diabetes may help to prevent, and possibly reverse, hardening of the arteries.

April 14, 2008. The NHLBI, along with the NCI and National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), signs a letter of intent with the Center for Genomic Medicine in Japan to create a Global Alliance for Pharmacogenomics to identify genetic factors that contribute to individual responses to medicines, including rare and dangerous side effects.  Research results will eventually allow physicians to ensure the safety and optimize the effectiveness of drugs for each patient.

August 18, 2008. The NHLBI launches an educational Web site, "Children and Clinical Studies," which features documentary videos, text, and graphics designed to promote a better understanding of research in children for health care professionals and the public.

September 15, 2008.  The Surgeon General’s Call to Action To Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism is released. The Call to Action, which urges a coordinated, multifaceted plan to reduce the number of cases of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism nationwide, resulted from a Surgeon General’s Workshop on Deep Vein Thrombosis co-sponsored by the NHLBI.

September 25, 2008.  Researchers announce that they have developed a genetically altered animal model for CF that closely matches the characteristics of the disease in humans.

October 6, 2008. NIH scientists show that tipifarnib, an experimental anticancer drug, can prevent, and even reverse, potentially fatal cardiovascular damage in a mouse model of progeria (rare genetic disorder that causes the most dramatic form of human premature aging).

December 15, 2008.  The NHLBI expands its open-access dataset of genetic and clinical data to include information collected from three NHLBI-funded asthma research networks: ACRN, CAMP, and CARE.

December 19, 2008.  Researchers identify a gene that directly affects the production of a form of hemoglobin that is instrumental in modifying the severity of SCD and thalassemia.

March 29, 2009.  Results from the Surgical Treatment for Ischemic Heart Failure (STICH) study show that surgery to reshape the scarred left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart, often performed in conjunction with coronary bypass surgery, fails to reduce deaths and hospitalizations in heart failure patients and does not improve quality of life compared with bypass alone.

June 5, 2009. Results from the Bypass Angioplasty Revascularization in Type 2 Diabetics (BARI 2D) study in patients with diabetes and stable coronary artery disease indicate that while revascularization can be delayed for many patients receiving optimal medical therapy, patients with extensive coronary artery disease do better with prompt bypass surgery than with medical therapy alone.

June 10, 2009. The NHLBI joins with UnitedHealth Group’s Chronic Disease Initiative to launch a worldwide network of research and training centers to build institutional and community capacity to prevent and con­trol chronic diseases globally.

July 28, 2009. The NHLBI stops the Sildenafil for Sickle Cell Disease-Associated Pulmonary Hypertension study after an interim review of the safety data shows that participants who are taking sildenafil are significantly more likely to have serious medical problems (e.g., severe pain called sickle cell crises) compared with participants on placebo.

August 16, 2009. Results from the Exome Project demonstrate the feasibility and value of isolating and sequencing all exons for identifying relatively rare genetic variants that may cause or contribute to disease. By focusing on the exome, important information about an individual can be obtained at a much lower cost than sequencing a person’s entire genome.

August 19, 2009. Results from Sleep Heart Health Study show that moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of death in middle-aged adults, especially men.

October 2009.  The Division of Cardiovascular Sciences is created by combining two previously existing divisions, the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and the Division of Prevention and Population Sciences, so that the administrative structure better matches the dynamic interaction that exists among basic, clinical, and population sciences.

December 9, 2009.  Scientists, using a modified blood adult stem-cell transplant regimen, reverse SCD in 9 of 10 adults who had been severely affected by the disease.

May 2010. The NHLBI launches the National Asthma Control Initiative to improve asthma control in patients by bringing asthma care in line with evidence-based recommendations from the Expert Panel Report 3—Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma and its companion document, Guidelines Implementation Panel Report—Partners Putting Guidelines Into Action.

October 20, 2010.  Follow-up findings from the WHI study of hormone therapy in postmenopausal women show that, in addition to having a higher incidence of breast cancer, the group treated with estrogen plus progestin had nearly double the rate of mortality from breast cancer than the placebo group 5 years after the study drug was discontinued.

April 7, 2011. Results from the STICH study show that adding bypass surgery to medical therapy for selected patients with chronic heart failure reduced the combination of deaths and heart-related hospital stays compared with medical therapy alone.

May 12, 2011. Results from the Pediatric Hydroxyurea Phase III Clinical Trial (Baby HUG) show that hydroxyurea appears to be safe for treating SCD in children aged 8–19 months, and can reduce their pain episodes and improve key blood measurements.

August 24, 2011.  Results from the COPD Clinical Research Network show that adding a common antibiotic to the usual daily treatment regimen for COPD reduced the occurrence of acute exacerbations and improved the quality of life of patients.

September 26, 2011. Results from a genome-wide association study show that asthma patients who have two copies of a specific gene variant responded only one-third as well to steroid inhalers used to treat asthma as those with two copies of the normal gene.

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