BORN LONDON , AUGUST 12, 1929. DIED LONDON, APRIL 11, 2014, AGED 84
KNOWN AS the father of the ECG, the physician and scientist Professor Abraham Guz was an international authority on breathing disorders and the neural control of respsiratory function. He published 300 papers and served on various professional bodies, including the Royal College of Physicians, the Medical Rsearch Council as well as editorial and grants committees.
The son of Russian Jewish parents, his maternal family had fled their country after two of his mother’s brothers had been killed. He studied at Hackney Downs Grammar School, where he became head boy and won a state scholarship to Charing Cross Medical School in 1947. He spent his national service with the RAMC, and was sent to Germany, where he became acting major and chief medical officer of the hospital, serving the British Army headquarters on the Rhine.
After this he spent two years at Harvard and then two more at the Cardiovascular Resarch Institute in San Francisco studying the new techniques which currently shaped clibnical practice in heart and lung disease.
Back in Britain in 1961, Prof Guz began worked in the newly opened academic Department of Medicine at Charing X, becoming head of department in 1982. His American experience in the field of cardiac mechanics contributed to his establishment of one of the first ECG monitoring units for coronary patients and those with severe respiratory failure, incurred during the London smogs. Awarded the the title Professor of Medicine in 1973, he supervised an arterial blood gas analysis service and was responsible for academic and clinical respiratory services. He obtained one of the first computerised sercices for patology labs.
In the wake of funding shortages, he launched his own charity, Breathlessness Research Trust and pioneered a laboratory researching sleep, studying the physiology of normal and sleep apnoea. In his new lung biochemistry lab, he investigated the behaviour of cells in the trespiratory tract.
His quick-witted personality, easily attracted young people whom he enthused with his ideas and his positive thinking. He retired in 1994 but continued his research into respiratory medicine teaching in Oxford for many years. Prof Guz played the violin and while no great sports buff, he promoted his department’s cricket team. He is survived by Nita, his wife of 56 years, three daughters Gabrielle, Deborah and Stephanie and nine grandchildren.