On The Beat



Dr. Nicholas J. Fortuin, 69, a pioneer in the field of echocardiography, died April 11 while biking near his home in Owings Mills, Md., a suburb of Baltimore, where he taught medicine at Johns Hopkins University. The cardiologist died of a myocardial infarction, colleagues said.

At Johns Hopkins, he developed a reputation as a mentor to students and caring physician to his patients, and was a trustee for 25 years.

After an internship at Johns Hopkins Osler Medical Service in 1965, he pursued fellowship training there in cardiovascular medicine. His research involved the study of myocardial blood flow.

Dr. Fortuin was drafted into the U.S. Public Health Service and assigned to the University of North Carolina, where he conducted research on the effects of air pollution on the heart. During this time, he worked with Dr. Ernest Craige to use the emerging technique of ultrasound in the study of heart function. In 1971, Dr. Ross recruited him as the inaugural director of Johns Hopkins' echocardiography laboratory.

He became professor of medicine in 1986, and had a private practice in Baltimore. In 2008, a group of nearly 300 donors, including patients, colleagues, and health organizations, established the Nicholas J. Fortuin, M.D., Professorship in Cardiology at Johns Hopkins, now held by Dr. Hugh Calkins, a cardiac electrophysiologist.

A native of Paterson, N.J., Dr. Fortuin earned an undergraduate degree in English literature from Columbia University in New York and traveled to England to study the work of William Shakespeare before pursuing a medical degree at Cornell University.

According to friends, Dr. Fortuin often quoted Shakespeare and remained a lifelong devotee, having attended a performance of “Richard II” in Washington on the eve of his death.

Dr. Fortuin is survived by his wife, Diane Hay, three daughters, eight grandchildren, and two siblings.

Dr. Morton F. Arnsdorf, whose work broke ground in the study and treatment of arrhythmias, died in a motor vehicle accident June 9. Two months shy of his 70th birthday, the University of Chicago cardiologist was heading home when his car was hit by a 17-year-old male who may have been driving under the influence of alcohol, according to initial reports.

Dr. Ansdorf, whose research in cell-to-cell communications led to an understanding of the electrophysiologic actions of antiarrhythmics, is credited with having pioneered the application of nanotechnology to the study of biomedical problems. He also earned the American Heart Association's Women in Cardiology Mentoring Award for his research on heart disease in women.

The Chicago native earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard University in 1962 and his medical degree at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons 4 years later. His residency at the University of Chicago was followed by a cardiology fellowship at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. During his military service in 1971-1973, Dr. Arnsdorf was chief of cardiology at the Air Force hospital in Elmendorf, Alaska. Upon his return, he started his long career at the University of Chicago, and served as chief of cardiology from 1981 to 1990.

In the early 1990s, he and his colleagues began to use atomic force microscopy to study gap junctions between adjoining heart muscle cells, according to the university statement.

Dr. Arnsdorf is survived by his wife Rosemary Crowley, four stepchildren, and five grandchildren.



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