The origin of the Institute for Heart Research of the Slovak Academy of Sciences may be traced back to January 1st, 1955, when the Laboratory for Experimental Surgery of the Slovak Academy of Sciences was established as a part of the Institute of Experimental Medicine. The Laboratory was transformed to the Institute of Experimenal Surgery in 1964 and from 1990, the name of the institute has been the Institute for Heart Research. Rich scientific work of the Institute during years 1956-1974 was focused mainly on experimental cardiology. During this period, methods of heart transplantation in experimental dogs had been studied with unique results:
- The Institute participated in the development and construction of the first apparatus for extracorporeal blood circulation, which allowed to realize the first surgery on the open heart in Slovakia during that period (prof. MUDr. Šiška K., prof. Šimkovic I., Ing. Bolf J.);
- Method of aortic valve transplantation to mitral area of the heart, solved at the Institute, had been used for several years in clinical practice during substitution of mitral valve of the heart (doc. Hubka M., Prof. Šimkovic I., MUDr. Styk J., MUDr. Gabauer I..);
- Method of exogeneous application of ATP, improving metabolic stage of a pathologically changed heart, had been introduced (Ing. Fedelšová M., Ing. Ziegelhoffer A., prof. Bárta E.);
- Electron microscopy methods had been used within Slovak Academy of Sciences for the first time during various pathophysiological conditions of the heart (prof. Slezák J., Dr.Tribulová N.)
- Resolving of hyperbaric and hypothermic storage of the heart allowed to store the heart intended for transplantation for 24 hours before transplantation (Ing. Ziegelhoffer A., MUDr. Styk J.);
- Ortotopic and heterotopic heart transplantations had been realized in experiments on dogs with long-lasting living without immunosupresive treatment (prof. Šiška K., doc. Hubka M., doc. Holec V., MUDr. Styk J., MUDr. Gabauer I., MUDr. Okoličány J., doc. Kužela L.);
- The Institute notably contributed to expansion of knowledge about ionic and humoral impulses to reactivity of blood vessels (prof. Antal J.).
Obtained experiences had been used during the first clinical transplantation of human heart in the Czechoslovak Republic and Central Europe in the IInd surgical clinic in Bratislava in 1968 under direction of prof. Šiška.
Since the 80-ties, further methods with new equipments had been introduced at the Institute:
- histochemical methods for early detection of ischemic injury of the heart (prof. Slezák J., RNDr. Tribulová N.);
- new specific methods for electron microscopy – ultracytochemical detection of cAMP, ATP-ases (prof. Slezák J., RNDr. Tribulová N.);
- method of perfusion of isolated rat heart (doc. Kužela L., Ing. Pancza D., MUDr. Styk J., MUDr. Trégerová V., MUDr.Ravingerová T.);
- different methods of mechanic assistance were experimentally verified – method of intraaortic baloon contrapulsation and method of retrograde perfusion of coronary vein (doc. Holec V., MUDr. Styk J., MUDr. Gabauer I., MUDr. Okoličány J., Ing. Pancza D., Ing. Frollo I.).
In 1990, on the basis of intended changes concerning research and development, the name of the Institute changed to the Institute for Heart Research. Since 90-ties, the main research topic at the Instutite pertains to protective mechanisms and adaptation of cardiovascular system to acute and chronic impulses, using new experimental models and methodological approaches.