In Memorium: Prof. Hein Wellens (1935-2020)
The world of electrocardiology was greatly saddened to learn of the death of Prof Hein Wellens at the age of 84 on June 9th, 2020. He was born in the Hague, Netherlands on November 13th, 1935 and died in Maastricht, where he had directed the Cardiology Department in the University Medical Centre from 1977 until 2002.
Professor Wellens was truly a giant in cardiac electrophysiology and initiated many new techniques in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. Among his many publications were some that described the criteria for the accurate diagnosis of ventricular tachycardia and biphasic T waves with prominent inversion in V2, V3. This finding helped diagnose critical stenosis of the left anterior descending coronary artery requiring urgent treatment. This pattern became known as the Wellens’ Sign.
Throughout his long career, Professor Wellens published literally hundreds of scientific articles, around 200 book chapters as well as a number of books. He was known internationally for his courses on ECG interpretation, which he often presented with the late Dr. Mark Josephson.
Of special note to our society, Professor Wellens participated in the 40th International Congress on Electrocardiology in Glasgow in August 2013, where he presented an invited plenary lecture (see photo, above) entitled “The ECG, very much alive, more than a century after Einthoven”. In addition, he attended the pre-conference symposium on early repolarization, which led to a consensus paper in JACC in 2015.
His death is a great loss to the world of cardiac electrophysiology and to cardiology in general.