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Deeply cherish the memory of Professor Zhong Gao WANG

(September 2nd, 1937 to November 3rd, 2023)

Professor Zhong Gao WANG is a world-renowned expert in vascular surgery, member of Jiusan Society, academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences and New York Academy of Sciences. Prof. ZG Wang, one of the pioneers and founders of vascular surgery in China, professor, chief physician and doctoral supervisor of Xuanwu Hospital Capital Medical University, died at 12:58 on November 3, 2023 in Beijing at the age of 86.

Prof. ZG Wang has worked in medicine for more than 60 years. He has worked hard for the establishment and development of vascular surgery in China all his life, and has made outstanding contributions to vascular surgery in China with his life experience.

Prof. ZG Wang was born in September 1937 in Dayi Village, Guali Town, Xiaoshan City, Zhejiang Province, China. He suffered from war in his childhood and was displaced with his family. He developed an indomitable character from an early age. He graduated from Shanghai Medical University in 1961, and was sent to Peking Union Medical College Hospital, the highest medical institution in China, with outstanding achievements. He successively studied under the supervision of renowned surgeons Professor Zeng Xian-Jiu and Academician Wu Ying-Kai. From then on, he devoted his life to the career of medicine.

Prof. ZG Wang has a habit of writing summaries. No matter how busy he is with his work every day, he will find time to turn his thoughts into words. At that time, although his family was poor, he spent 2 RMB buying paper to write every month. Prof. Wang said “I cannot say how high the quality of my articles is, but no matter what the quality is, each article can at least solve a problem.” This is Prof. Wang’s original intention. In Peking Union Medical College Hospital, the medical record room and library were the most frequent places Prof. Wang went to. The yellowed medical records stayed with him year after year. It was also here that he first heard Professor ZHANG Xiao-Qian talking about a rare disease Budd-Chiari syndrome. In the following decades, a comprehensive study has been conducted on the epidemiology, etiology, pathology, clinical classification, diagnosis and treatment of this incurable disease threatening human health. And a reasonable treatment plan has been developed according to the clinical experience of thousands of cases. A variety of surgical methods have been invented, which have greatly reduced the mortality rate and more than 80% of patients have recovered. His academic theory has been cited in many university textbooks, including “Oxford Surgery”, “Contemporary Vascular surgery” in the United States, “Vascular pathology” in Italy, “Huang Jia-Si Surgery” in China, et al. At the same time, he has made great achievements in the fields of endovascular surgery, Takayasu arteritis, carotid artery disease and congenital vascular malformation. These achievements made him a world-renowned medical expert.

In 2003, due to long-term overwork, Prof. Wang suddenly suffered from a series of symptoms, coughing, sneezing, and nasal congestion. He has been admitted to hospital for 5 times, and was misdiagnosed as allergic rhinitis and bronchial asthma. The symptoms were not improved after treatment for a long time. Until 2006, Prof. Wang was diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease during a conference in the United States. On the sixth day after operation in the US, he wrote an article entitled “Gastroesophageal reflux cannot be ignored” and it was published in the media.

This was not a medical field he was familiar with. At the age of 69, he has been well-known in vascular surgery in China and abroad. “Put the suffering of patients in the heart” is the experience of Prof. Wang in his lifetime of medical practice. He was determined to help the critically ill patients who had been misdiagnosed like him. In April 2006, Prof. Wang established the first gastroesophageal reflux disease centre in the General Hospital of the PLA Rocket Force, treating patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease who had been misdiagnosed. For more than 10 years, he has made the correct diagnosis and effective treatment for more than 10,000 patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease.

With unremitting efforts and hard work in the medical field over the years, Prof. Wang had fruitful results and students all over the world. In his more than 60 years of medical career, Prof. Wang has founded vascular surgery or vascular institutes in several hospitals. He has trained a large number of excellent vascular surgeons for China. His students are working in hospitals across China, most of them have become the leader in the field of vascular surgery. He has won a second prize of National Science and Technology Progress Award, 10 provincial science and technology progress awards, and 12 national patents. Prof. Wang has published 127 papers in English and 650 papers in Chinese. He was the Editor-in-Chief for 16 Chinese books and 6 English books, and has participated in writing 17 books in English.

In 1988, he founded and served as the first president of the International Society for Budd-Chiari Syndrome. In 1992, he initiated the establishment of the Vascular Surgery Group of the Surgical Branch of the Chinese Medical Association and served as the first chairman. He co-founded the Asian Society for Vascular Surgery (ASVS) with Professor John B CHANG, Professor Yong Kak LEE and Professor Yoshio MISHIMA, and served as the President of ASVS in 1996. The 3rd Congress of ASVS was held in Beijing in 1998. In 1996, he was awarded the annual Research Achievement Award by the International Vascular Academy for the first time. Prof. Wang was listed as one of the 500 people in the world by the American Biographical Academy and awarded the 20th Century Achievement Award. In 1997, he was awarded the World Lifetime Scientific and Technological Achievement Award again by the American Academy of Biographies. In 1998, he was elected as Vice President at the 18th Congress of International Union of Angiology and awarded the Meritorious Service Award. In 2007, he won the “Wu Jie-Ping Medical Award” and the 90th anniversary Golden Pen Award of Chinese Medical Journal. In 2010, he won the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Surgical Branch of the Chinese Medical Association. He was awarded the International Endoscopics Award in 2010, Outstanding Achievement Award by Asian Committee of the International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association in 2012, and Lifetime Achievement Award by International Society for Vascular Surgery in 2014.

The work of Prof. Wang and his colleagues has received extensive attention from international peers. Over the years, he has given invited lectures at 57 universities abroad, including Harvard University, Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, and Duke University. He has been invited to perform surgical treatment and demonstration abroad for many times. He was a visiting professor at the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina, Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and many other world-renowned universities. As President of ASVS and Vice President of International Union of Angiology, he initiated or chaired many international conferences. He has been invited to write for many English textbooks on Vascular Surgery, such as ‘Textbook of Angiology’, ‘Vascular Surgery’ and ‘Congenital Vascular Disease’. He always believes that his achievements are not his personal achievements, but the achievements of the team of Chinese doctors, the achievements of vascular surgery in China, and the achievements of the Chinese medical community.

Prof. Wang often uses Prof. QIU Fa-Zu’s motto to encourage everyone ‘To be satisfied with life, uncontented with achievement, and hungry with knowledge’. Prof. Wang, one of the renowned founders of vascular surgery in China, has struggled for the establishment and development of vascular surgery in China for more than 60 years. With his brilliant life, he created the honor of “The Doctor of China”.

The passing away of Prof. ZG Wang is a great loss for the community of vascular surgery. His outstanding contribution to the vascular surgery in China and ASVS will always be remembered. We will always miss him.

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