Christian Schreiber

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 01 September 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4724
  1. Ned Stafford
  1. Hamburg
  1. ns{at}

Paediatric cardiac surgeon who transformed congenital heart surgery

Credit: Deutsches Herzzentrum München

As one of the top paediatric cardiac surgeons in the world, Christian Schreiber helped to save the lives of thousands of children with heart conditions. He worked not only at his home base, the German Heart Centre at Technical University of Munich, but also as a visiting surgeon at hospitals around the world.

“I consider him among the three most skilful surgeons that I have ever seen at work,” says Jose Pedro da Silva, surgical director at the Center for Valve Therapy at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Da Silva, creator of the cone procedure for the surgical treatment of Ebstein’s anomaly, says, “Christian was fast and precise when performing challenging operations on children with complex congenital heart disease. He constantly worked to perfect his surgical technique. As a physician, he was an astute clinician and also very empathetic towards his patients and family.”


Had Schreiber—who was deputy director of the department of cardiovascular surgery at the German Heart Centre and head senior cardiac surgeon—been able to continue his work he would have helped save the lives of thousands more children. And, as a teacher, he would have helped to train dozens more cardiac surgeons. But 11 days before his 51st birthday, his life and his career were cut short by the progressive neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Schreiber—who was known for his friendly personality, positive attitude, and playful …

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