The current Cardiac services started as a Cardiac Clinic in Mulago Hospital in 1956, by Prof. Somers Crusher, in the Department of Medicine. The first functional cardiac laboratory was established in 1958. When the New Mulago Hospital was constructed in 1960, the Queen of Holland donated a new Cardiac Laboratory that was installed in the Department of Internal Medicine.
By 1969, open heart surgery was being performed in Mulago Hospital, using the method of core cooling. Unfortunately all these developments were lost in the seventies following the political crisis which closed off all the trainees abroad, and served all lecturers relocated back to their countries.
In a meeting held in Mulago Hospital in 1988, it was resolved that the Heart Institute be established. The meeting composed of Mulago Hospital, Ministry of Health, Makerere University and Uganda Heart Foundation (a non-government Organization composed of mainly Rotarians and other well-wishers). The entities present at this meeting became the founders of the Uganda Heart Institute. Due to this decision, cardiac services were revived and on 4th April 1996 a first closed Heart Surgery (External Pacemaker implantation) was performed and eventually Open Heart Surgery was also done on 27th December 2007, 50 years after the establishment of the cardiac clinic and 40 years after the initial open heart surgery in Uganda.
In 2001 the Uganda Heart Institute was legally established as a Company limited by guarantee of its founding Bodies namely, Mulago Hospital, Ministry of Health, Makerere University and Uganda Heart Foundation. In UHI therefore commenced operating as a semi-autonomous Unit under Mulago Hospital. The purpose of the registering UHI as a limited Company was to fasten the growth and development of the Institute, by enabling it to solicit for funds and manage its resources at source.
In 2013/2014 the Board of Directors of the Uganda Heart Institute was dissolved to pace way for enacting law for the establishment of an Autonomous Uganda Heart Institute as a government agency, a law which was enacted and passed in October 2016. Uganda Heart Institute is now a Government Autonomous entity established by an Act of Parliament – Uganda Heart Institute Act 2016.