James L. Cox

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James L. Cox
Born (1942-12-24) December 24, 1942 (age 77)
Alma materUniversity of Mississippi
University of Tennessee
Duke University
Known fordevelopment of Cox-maze procedure
Scientific career
FieldsSurgeon cardiologist
InstitutionsDuke University
Washington University
Georgetown University
Doctoral advisorDavid Sabiston

James L. Cox (born 24 December 1942, Fair Oaks, AR) is an American cardiothoracic surgeon and medical innovator best known for the development of the Cox maze procedure for treatment of atrial fibrillation in 1987.

Early background[edit]

James Cox started his college education on a baseball scholarship at the University of Mississippi. On the day he received an offer to play professional baseball with the Los Angeles Dodgers he also received his acceptance to medical school at the University of Tennessee.[1] He wanted to be a surgeon, so he chose medical school. He received his MD from Tennessee and began his surgical residency at Duke University in 1967. He served with the US Army medical corps from 1970 through 1972, then returned to Duke to finish his residency and surgical training, under the direction of David Sabiston. He join the faculty as an assistant professor of surgery in 1978.

Medical career and innovation[edit]

Cox advanced to associate professor of surgery at Duke in 1982, then in 1983 he moved to the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he became Professor and Chief, CardioThoracic Surgery. Specializing in surgeries for cardiac arrhythmias, in 1987 he first performed his eponymous "maze" procedure,[2] which was recognized as the first cure for atrial fibrillation.[3] From 1990 to 1997 he was Evarts A. Graham Professor of Surgery at Washington University.

In 1997 Cox moved to Georgetown University to become chairman of the department of cardiothoracic surgery. Shortly afterward he was forced by knee problems to give up surgery and he retired in 2000.[4] He continued his active role in cardiology, serving as director on professional boards and as editor of two journals of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

In 2005 Cox became Emeritus Evarts A. Graham Professor of Surgery at Washington University. He currently serves as chairman and CEO of the World Heart Foundation[5] and was the Medical Director for the ATS Medical division of Medtronic until 2010.

Honors and awards[edit]

  • one of 30 "Pioneers in Cardiothoracic Surgery for the First 50 Years of the Specialty", Paris 2000
  • Ray C. Fish Award for Scientific Achievement in Cardiovascular Diseases, 2004
  • Elected to the Russian Academy of Medical Science, 2005


  1. ^ "Rhythms in History Podcast Collection - interview with James L. Cox". Heart Rhythm. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
  2. ^ Cox J, Schuessler R, D'Agostino H, Stone C, Chang B, Cain M, Corr P, Boineau J (1991). "The surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation. III. Development of a definitive surgical procedure". J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 101 (4): 569–83. doi:10.1016/S0022-5223(19)36684-X. PMID 2008095.
  3. ^ "Department of Surgery Annual Report 2006" (PDF). Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
  4. ^ Cooley, Denton, MD (2004). "Texas Heart Institute Medal and the Ray C. Fish Award for Scientific Achievement in Cardiovascular Diseases". Texas Heart Institute Journal. 31 (2): 114–115. PMC 427367. PMID 15212118.
  5. ^ "Chief Executive Officer and President James L. Cox, M.D." World Heart Foundation. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2011.