Jesse E. Edwards, 96, a cardiologist who established one of the world's largest collections of hearts to help the study of cardiac disease, has died.

He died Sunday of heart failure, his daughter said.

He was one of a group of Minnesota pioneers in cardiac medicine who revolutionized the study and treatment of heart problems, said Victor Tschida, medical director of the Nasseff Heart Center at United Hospital in St. Paul and a former student of Dr. Edwards.

In 1946, Dr. Edwards went to work at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where in the early 1950s he was a member of the first open-heart surgery team. In 1960, he left for the University of Minnesota, where he taught for many years, and Miller Hospital in St. Paul, now United Hospital.

It was there that he established what is now the Jesse E. Edwards Registry of Cardiovascular Disease, which has more than 22,000 hearts sent for study from around the world. It is one of the largest collections of its kind and a tremendous resource in the study of heart ailments, Tschida said.

- AP