David G. Reuter
Pediatrician, Allegro Pediatrics
Director, Cardiac Innovations,
Division of Pediatric Cardiology
Seattle Children's Hospital
David Reuter used his Civil Engineering curriculum to lay the foundation for a career as a physician innovator. In addition to his emphasis in structures and hydraulics, Dr. Reuter enjoyed participation in Old Masters, Iron Key and Mortar Board. Thanks to his Civil Engineering mentor, Dr. Yao, he was nominated for and received the Bruce Helfert outstanding engineering student award. Thanks to his Purdue mentor, Dr. Grace, he was nominated for and received a Presidential Fellowship to pursue an MD/PhD degree.
At the conclusion of his pediatric residency in Pittsburgh, Dr. Reuter was moved by the children for whom medicine did not have an answer. It was one such woman, Danielle, an 18-year-old who died of heart failure, who inspired him to pursue medical innovation. He started a company, Cardiac Dimensions, to develop a cardiac implant for patients with heart failure. After leading the effort for 13 years and raising $90 million in venture capital, Dr. Reuter knew Danielle’s legacy was secure when a 60-year-old gentleman in Clermont-Ferrand, France, said: “Thank you for giving me my life back. Before I received your device, I was bedridden; now I have the energy to play with my grandkids.”
Dr. Reuter recalls modeling the cardiac implant after the Golden Gate Bridge, since both structures have a flexible cable between their two fixed supports. He credits his Purdue training which taught him that meticulous attention to detail and applying fundamental principles is the secret to solve problems. He has observed that scientific principles solve the engineering problems, but the Purdue Principles of courage, perseverance, resilience, and integrity were instrumental to disrupt the status quo.
Dr. Reuter was recently recruited by the Heart Center at Seattle Children’s Hospital to establish an innovation initiative. By again taking an engineering approach to a medical problem, he established that renal venous outflow obstruction causes preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension), a disease that kills 50,000 women and 250,000 children worldwide every year. A grant from the Gates Foundation provided the opportunity to develop diagnostic and therapeutic tools to treat the women and children who suffer from this debilitating condition.
In addition to his innovation pursuits, Dr. Reuter has maintained an active clinical practice. His pediatric mission is to inspire the next generation to identify their strengths and become positive forces for change in the world.
Dr. Reuter lives in Seattle with his wife, Amy, whom he met at Purdue. They have two teenage children who are a constant source of joy.