What makes the uniqueness of scientific achievements and what are the premises of an outstanding career? We used the bibliography and the citation analysis of the chief of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery of the Medical University of Vienna over a period of thirty years and matched them with potential influencing parameters including the research environment and analyzed them with significant qualities proposed by Toledo Pereira as CDFI (commitment, determination, focus and innovation). 698 items were found in a scientific citation index expanded search over this period. The number of citations above 50 was matched with the career of the first authors and related to the scientific environment of the individuals. Compared to other areas of scientific achievements cardiosurgical research of our department seems to be highly influential in certain areas especially in the analysis of surgical and pathophysiologic problems the application of innovative procedures setting standards in many important areas in cardiovascular disciplines. It can be speculated that cardiosurgical as well as translational research can be developed from a niche player into a successful international center of excellence during the era of one single leader.