Michael Zimpfer

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Michael Zimpfer
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Born (1951-11-16) November 16, 1951 (age 72)
  • Austrian Anaesthesiologis
  • Physicians

Michael Zimpfer (born 16 November 1951 in Innsbruck) is an Austrian anaesthesiologist, intensive care physician and pain therapist. He is known for non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures to treat acute and chronic pain. He was head of the Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care and Pain Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna General Hospital (Allgemeines Krankenhaus, AKH, Wien). As member of the founding senate, as well as senator for two function periods thereafter, he contributed substantially to the development of the New Medical University of Vienna. In 2017 he founded the Center for Medicine and Health (ZMED) in Vienna.

Life and academic career

Zimpfer studied at the Medical Faculty of the University of Vienna, i.e., precursor of the Medical University of Vienna, where he received his medical doctorate in 1975. He began his academic career at the Pharmacological Institute of the University of Vienna (Otto Kraupp), followed by a cardiological training at Harvard Medical School (Eugene Braunwald and Stephen Vatner). Subsequently, he focused on anaesthesiology and intensive care challenges. In 1983 he completed his thesis and was certified as anaesthesiology / intensive care (critical care) specialist, thus, with the specialty still in its developmental phase, he was the first Austrian specialist in the field of intensive care medicine.

In 1992 he became professor of anaesthesiology and intensive care at the University of Vienna and head of the respective department succeeding the pioneer of the discipline, Otto Mayrhofer. As a consequence, at first, he was responsible for the relocation of all surgical and diagnostic-interventional disciplines onto the new Vienna General Hospital.

At the very same place, under his leadership, a number of new developments ensued, e.g. for ventilation using nitrogen oxide technology or jet ventilation. In 1999, with support of the cardiac surgeon Ernst Wolner extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, also known as the artificial lung, for the first time, was successfully employed at his department.[1] Apart from treatment of the feared severe acute lung failure, this resulted in an important prerequisite for further development of organ transplantation ("bridging"), which was later also used in the therapy of severe courses of COVID. Under his guidance 48 colleagues completed their theses enabling 20 of them to be appointed as assistant / associate-professors and chief physicians, respectively, including leading centers in the US.

In 1993 he’s been in the limelight by treating the mayor of Vienna, capital of Austria, Helmut Zilk after a letter bomb attack[2] and in 2004 through the treatment of the Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko after his life-threatening dioxin poisoning.[3][4]

In addition to his medical work, Zimpfer also refers to thorough economic education and experience. In 1998 he received his Master of Business Administration from the Chicago Graduate School of Business, in 2001 he was appointed honorary president of the Rudolfiner-Association / Red Cross (Rudolfinerverein Rotes Kreuz), the funding provider of the Rudolfinerhouse (Rudolfinerhaus), a renowned private hospital in Vienna, founded by the famous surgeon and amateur musician, Theodor Billroth.

In 2008 he turned to another focus of his work, i.e., in-depth diagnostics and non-invasive and minimally invasive therapy for the treatment of acute and chronic pain. In 2017 he founded the Center for Medicine and Health, Vienna Medical Center, in the heart of Vienna's hospital district.[5][6] In 2022 he was named Fellow of Interventional Pain Practice (World Institute of Pain).

Since 1993 he has been working as a certified court-expert, also being concerned with transboundary cases, Germany and the US.

In 2006 Zimpfer was awarded the Grand Decoration of Honor for services to the Republic of Austria.

Zimpfer was editor and advisory board member of several scientific journals and has written more than 200 scientific papers during his academic career.

Memberships in international scientific associations

  • since 2003 Chairman of the Austrian Anaesthesiology and Critical Care Foundation
  • since 2022 Fellow of Interventional Pain Practice (World Institute of Pain)
  • 2007-2022 Member of the Board of the Austrian Society of Friends of the "Weizmann Institute of Science"
  • 1996-2008 Head of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine
  • 2001-2008 President of the Rudolfiner-Verein-Rotes Kreuz, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Rudolfinerhaus-Betriebs Ges.m.b.H.
  • 2003-2007 Chairman of the Vienna Red Cross Research Institute
  • 2000-2003 Chairman of the Austrian Society for Health Economics
  • 1995-1996 President of the Austrian Society for Anaesthesiology, Reanimation and Intensive Therapy - ÖGARI
  • 1994-1995 President Elect of ÖGARI

Honors and awards

  • Grand Decoration of Honor for services to the Republic of Austria, 2006
  • Awards for developing scientists: Central European Anaesthesiology Prize, Sandoz Prize and Hoechst Prize


  1. "Lebensrettung - Wolfgang Kerber und Michael Zimpfer".
  2. "Kopf des Tages: Michael Zimpfer".
  3. "Juschtschenko Opfer einer Dioxinvergiftung".
  4. https://www.profil.at/home/%5Bnode:path%5D
  5. "Schmerztherapie in Wien – Prof. Dr. Michael Zimpfer als Experte der Schmerztherapie - FOCUS.de".
  6. "Besuch bei Prof. Dr. Michael Zimpfer in Wien". 7 January 2023.

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