WASHINGTON – The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions (SCAI) mourns the loss of Harry Lee Page, Jr., MD, Emeritus FSCAI, who passed away on August 1, 2022, at the age of 88. Dr. Page was a past president and most notably, founding board member of the Society.
In his book, One Heart at a Time, Dr. Page recalled that when asked by the family physician what he wanted to be when he grew up, without hesitation he replied, “’I want to be a doctor just like you.’ Like a mule with blinders on –– to use an old colloquialism –– I pursued this idea with no consideration of an alternative.” His single-minded quest led him to complete undergraduate and medical school studies at Vanderbilt University, where he became fascinated by electrocardiography. His service in the United States Navy helped solidify his desire to specialize in cardiology.
Dr. Page was a founding partner of the Page-Campbell Cardiology Group (PCCG) at Saint Thomas Hospital, a practice he co-founded with Dr. Barton Campbell in Nashville, TN. By 1974, their practice had taken off and their desire to build the Saint Thomas program and strengthen the clinical offerings in the Nashville area led them to seek out expertise from some of cardiology’s most recognizable names, including Dr. Andreas Gruentzig. Dr. Page traveled to Zurich, Switzerland where he attended the demonstration of a new procedure, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). He once stated, “I happened to get to Zurich way ahead of most people, and I ordered equipment.” Ultimately, he shared his experiences in Switzerland with his friend and colleague Dr. Goffredo Gensini in Syracuse, NY, where he then performed his first U.S. coronary angioplasty in September of 1979, which was one of the first few procedures done in the country. He then went on to perform the very first coronary angioplasty procedure in the Mid-South later that year.
During his career, Dr. Page also served as a clinical professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University and was an early champion of diversity and inclusion, ensuring that PCCG hired talent from vast backgrounds within their practice. In 2006, PCCG merged with the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute.
“We are so fortunate to have had fearless luminaries such as Harry Page at the helm of our profession,” said Sunil V. Rao, MD, FSCAI, SCAI president. “Leaders like Harry who were bold enough to believe in innovative technologies are the reason we’re able to perform so many life-saving procedures today. We are grateful for his contributions to our specialty, and will carry his legacy forward,” he continued.
Dr. Page served as SCAI president in 1985 and was also governor of the Tennessee chapter of the American College of Cardiology, president of the Saint Thomas medical staff, and on the editorial boards of Heart and Lung and Catheterization and Cardiovascular Diagnosis. He and his wife Shelley also set aside funds to endow a Vanderbilt Chair in Interventional Cardiology.
When asked about highlights of his long career, Dr. Page once said the three items that first come to mind are “Founding the cath lab at Saint Thomas Hospital, doing the first coronary angioplasty in this area of the country, and helping unite our group with Vanderbilt.” Aside from his many contributions to interventional cardiology, Dr. Page was fluent in German and played classical guitar.
Dr. Page is survived by his wife, Mary Shelley Carter Page, two children, three grandchildren, a sister, and a host of relatives and close friends.