Obituary: Dr Edgar Sowton
Friday 12 August 1994
EDGAR SOWTON was an exceptional physician and scientist who achieved international acclaim for his work in cardiac pacing and coronary angioplasty.
Sowton was a remarkable student who obtained simultaneous degrees in Medicine and Physics from Corpus Christi, Cambridge. Seven years later in 1964 he won the Horton-Smith prize awarded by Cambridge University for the best doctoral thesis of his year, on cardiac pacing. His progress in medicine was no less impressive. In the 1960s he used his dual talents to become one of the world pioneers in the development of cardiac pacemakers, spending a fellowship at Karolinska Sjukhuset in Stockholm, the birthplace of pacing. He subsequently became a consultant cardiologist and assistant director of the Institute of Cardiology at the National Heart Hospital in London.
In 1970 he moved to Guy's Hospital where he became director of Cardiac Services. His drive, inquisitiveness and constant desire to improve the lot of his patients led him into another key area of clinical development - he was one of the first people in Britain to perform coronary angioplasty, keyhole surgery on the arteries of the heart, and developed a second international reputation in the medical field.
Sowton was lauded for his work all over the world. In Britain in 1972, he became the honorary secretary of the British Cardiac Society and its president in 1987. He was the president of the British Pacing and Electrophysiology Group and of its European equivalent, the European Working Group on Cardiac Pacing, organising the first European Symposium on cardiac pacing, in London, in 1977.
Overseas he received honours from professional societies in North America, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, South America and elsewhere. He was the author of over 600 papers and co-authored with Harold Siddens one of the standard texts on cardiac pacing, Cardiac Pacemakers (1966).
Sowton was not just a brilliant academic. The focus of his work was always practically oriented towards improving the health of his patients. He had the skills to implement demanding medical innovations, such as the use of appropriate timing devices to activate demand pacemakers.
As a friend he was loyal, unflappable, always ready with good advice and never short of humour. His family life was happy and a very important part of his life. In his later years he became a formidable offshore yacht skipper, using his talents to lead his class in navigation examinations.
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Power of Nepal earthquake was equivalent to 20 huge atomic bombs
Nepal earthquake video: Terrifying footage shows moment avalanche hit Everest Base Camp
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...