Flags fly at half mast for giant of cardiology

Tuesday, 20 Oct 2020

Tributes have been paid for distinguished Oxford University cardiologist and researcher Professor Peter Sleight, who has died in the UK at the age of 91.

Until his retirement, Professor Sleight was a consultant at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, but spent part of his early career in Australia as a researcher and clinician at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney.

He had a major research interests in physiology and hypertension, producing over 500 academic papers that attracted more than 40,000 citations, particular in areas such as absolute cardiovascular risk.

Professor Sleight was a pioneer in the development of multicentre clinical trials and – with colleagues such as Professor Salim Yusuf – helped form the International Studies of Infarction Survival (ISIS) study group that involved 1000 hospitals worldwide collaborating in large trials, with around 60,000 patients.

He was also the author of many cardiology textbooks in cardiology, and received numerous awards and prizes and delivered a large number of prestigious lectures.

In the 1970s he came to Australia on a research fellowship from the Heart Foundation to work at Sydney University.

“It cost me quite a bit terms of a salary cut, but it was the best thing I ever did in my life, because I loved Australia and I had a great time there,” he said.

Professor Sleight was a Fellow of Exeter College at Oxford University where the flag is being flown at half-mast in his memory.

A colleague, Oxford University cardiologist Professor Hugh Watkins described Professor Sleight as “truly a giant in our field” and his impact was seen around the world.

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