Noted Stanford cardiologist Alfred Spivack dies at age 87

Alfred Spivack, MD, a cardiologist and clinical professor emeritus of medicine at Stanford University, died on April 23. He was 87.

Stanford announced Spivack’s death in a news release on May 5. Peter Spivack, his son, said Spivack died while swimming in the pool at a retirement community.

Spivack was the founder and first director of Stanford Hospital’s coronary care unit, which opened in 1966. He also was the founder of the hospital’s hypertension-anticoagulation clinic and the medical school’s sports medicine training course, according to the news release.

In addition, the release mentioned that Spivack was proactive in encouraging nurses to become more involved in caring for critically ill cardiac patients and perform roles that were typically limited to physicians.

“Al saw that the future of cardiology was headed toward an environment where patients would be intensely monitored in a high-surveillance nursing unit, where the sickest of patients could still get the best care,” Randall Vagelos, MD, director of Stanford Hospital’s adult coronary care unit, said in the news release. “He understood that all of this was going to depend on nurses. There were clearly not enough doctors to create that kind of surveillance.”