In the 1920’s the German - American entrepreneur William George Kerckhoff travelled regularly to the spa town of Bad Nauheim due to his heart disease. His generous donation of 1.7 million dollars made the establishment of a heart research institute possible, the W. G. Kerckhoff Institute.
The first director of this research institute was Professor Dr. Franz Groedel. He was immensely successful in his management of the institute and remained in the charge there until his emigration to the USA in 1933. In 1951, the Max Planck Society took over the Institute with a view to conducting high-level research on coronary and circulatory disorders.
In 1963, the Kerckhoff Clinic was founded in the immediate vicinity of the W. G. Kerckhoff Institute so that patients could benefit directly from the great medical developments achieved in the research institute. Beginning in 1972, Professor Dr. Martin Schlepper expanded the medical scope of treatment so successfully that the Clinic came to specialize in acute treatment of cardiac patients.
This meant that by the end of the 1980’s the Clinic had developed into a high-level centre for cardiology and cardiac surgery and already had an excellent reputation. The success story continued and in 1999 specialtes of "Rheumatology, Physical Medicine and Balneology" of the Justus Liebig University Clinic were added to the Kerckhoff Clinic. The rheumatology department is now the third largest section of the Clinic. To step up the quality of patient care even further, a new hospital building was finished in 2005 and, in January 2008 the thoracic surgery Treatment was added as the fourth section and in 2014 the department of vascular surgery as the fifth.