Domenico Pagano

The Latin American Association of Cardiac and Endovascular Surgery (LACES) is mourning the death of an outstanding human being - Domenico Pagano. As a cardiothoracic surgeon, he had a significant contribution by being a mentor to surgeons on formation at the Queen Elizabeth-University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust in England and as well as a Professor of Medicine at the University of Birmingham.

He had a tremendous enthusiasm for the cause of the well-being of cardiac surgery as a whole but mainly based on the aspect of medicine based on evidence.

This was very much true when as Secretary-general of the European Association of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery between 2017 and 2020, he made famous the phrase by the American cardiologist Bernard Lown “Never whisper in the presence of wrong”. This statement changed the attitude of cardiac surgeons worldwide when they freely started contesting the results of trials and saying that there should be confidence that guidelines are based on true and trustable evidence and become the best treatment for patients. He was the motor behind all the changes that happened in the last years of cardiac surgery.

Probably the most impressive action that he was known for all the world’s surgeons was the 2020 Thomas B. Ferguson lecture at the STS annual meeting when he pleaded to “Make the evidence great again”. This was a remarkable lecture and one that will stay for many years in our minds and which he will be well remembered.

But, for all of us in LACES, the most important fact that made him a great contributor was the fact that from ground zero, he supported the formation and development of our association. This was very important at the start and maintained us united and intending to do the best for all our patients. He promised our President, Victor Dayan, to offer us the president’s Chain of LACES, to follow the same path that occurred with the EACTS when they were offered their chain by the AATS. This intention became a reality we will never forget, and when passing this Chain from one President to the next one, the story will be told.

We are, as a cardiac surgical community, very sad about Domenico’s earlier departure, but his personal friendship and legacy will always be remembered.