The Texas Heart Institute
The Texas Heart Institute is a not-for-profit cardiology and heart surgery center located within the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas. Founded in 1962 by Dr. Denton A. Cooley, its original charter stated its purpose was “the study and treatment of diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Today, the Institute’s mission is to reduce the devastating toll of cardiovascular disease through innovative programs in research, education, and improved patient care. The Texas Heart Institute and its clinical partner, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, have become one of the nation's largest cardiovascular centers. Its 160-member professional staff have performed more than 100,000 open heart operations, 200,000 cardiac catheterizations, and 1,000 heart transplants. In 2010, in its annual survey of “America's Best Hospitals,” U.S. News & World Report ranked the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital number 4 in the United States for heart care, making this its 20th consecutive year as one of the top 10 heart centers in the country.
1962 – Charter for the Texas Heart Institute is filed at the Texas Capitol Building on August 3.
1967 – Ground is broken on June 26 for the St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital expansion program for the Texas Heart Institute and a 28-story patient tower.
1972 – Eight new operating suites are opened for surgery, three of which have overhead viewing galleries, or “domes,” for teaching purposes.
1974 – Clayton Research Cardiac Catheterization Labs are opened.
1976 – The first accredited School of Perfusion Technology in the United States is opened.
1977 – Electrophysiology laboratories are opened.
1978 – Institute surgeons perform the first bridge-to-transplant procedure, wherein a left ventricular assist device is used to support the patient until a donor heart becomes available for transplantation.
1980 – Two more operating suites are opened for surgery.
1981 – Institute surgeons perform the second implantation in the world of an artificial heart in a human.
1983 – “Skybreaking” ceremony on December 13 officially begins the construction phase of an expansion plan to add four new floors.
1991 – Patient with a portable, battery-powered left ventricular assist device becomes the first in the world to leave the hospital with his device.
1998 – Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital is chosen as one of six centers where cardiac magnetic resonance imaging trials are performed.
1999 – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the use of a stent graft for the repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms; the device was tested exclusively at the Texas Heart Institute.
2000 – The Texas Heart Institute becomes the first site for clinical trials of the Jarvik 2000, a miniature, axial flow left ventricular assist device.
2001 – Institute surgeons perform the 100,000th open heart operation at the Texas Heart Institute.
- – Dr. O.H. Frazier implants the AbioCor total artificial heart in a patient as part of a clinical trial of the device.
2002 – The dedication of the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital–The Denton A. Cooley Building takes place.
2003 – The Texas Heart Institute becomes the first nationally ranked cardiovascular center in the United States to open a simulation training laboratory for cardiac catheterization procedures.
2004 – The Texas Heart Institute begins the first FDA-approved clinical trial in the United States of adult stem cell therapy for the treatment of congestive heart failure.
2006 – Institute surgeons perform the 1000th heart transplant procedure at the Texas Heart Institute.
2007 – The National Institutes of Health selects the Texas Heart Institute as one of five centers for a stem cell study consortium.
2008 – The Texas Heart Institute receives a grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a new total artificial heart that will comprise 2 small, continuous flow ventricular assist devices—the first total artificial heart of its kind.
2008 – Dr. James T. Willerson assumes the role of president of the Texas Heart Institute, effective August 1.
The Stem Cell Center of the Texas Heart Institute was first in the United States to receive FDA approval for an adult stem cell clinical trial to treat patients with advanced heart failure. In addition, the Texas Heart Institute was one of five centers selected by the National Institutes of Health to study stem cell treatments for patients with cardiovascular disease. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has provided a $33.7 million to support these centers in a new national consortium called the Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network.
Physician scientists at the Texas Heart Institute have amassed the world’s greatest experience in the development and use of ventricular assist devices (VADs) to sustain the failing circulation in patients with severe heart failure. More than a dozen different VADs are being studied in clinical trials conducted by the Center for Cardiac Support at the Texas Heart Institute, and more are under development in preclinical studies. A key area of research in the field of VADs is the concept of heart failure “remission,” or the use of a VAD to support a patient’s heart, thus giving the heart time to heal and recover normal function. Over the last three years, seven patients supported long term with a HeartMate II VAD have achieved remission, allowing for the removal of their devices. Researchers are also working on the development of a small total artificial heart that would deliver blood by continuous flow rather than pulsation.
Many firsts have been achieved by cardiologists and surgeons at the Texas Heart Institute.
- First successful heart transplant procedure in the United States.
- First implantation in the world of an artificial heart in a human.
- First removal of an aneurysm of the aorta.
- First successful carotid endarterectomy in the world.
- First removal of an aneurysm that forms in the left ventricle.
- First bypass to reroute blood flow around a congenital defect in a coronary artery.
- First use of a liquid sugar solution rather than blood to prime the heart-lung machine. This allowed the first open heart operations on Jehovah’s Witnesses, whose religion does not allow them to receive blood or blood products.
- First study of an implantable left ventricular assist device for postcardiotomy support, with funding from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
- Early development of fabric grafts.
- Development of the Cooley-Cutter heart valve.
- First laser angioplasty procedure in the United States.
- First laser coronary endarterectomy procedure in the United States.
- First implantation of the HeartMate pneumatically (air) powered left ventricular assist device as a bridge to heart transplantation.
- First implantation of a HeartMate II left ventricular assist device in the United States.
- First implantation of an abdominal aortic stent graft using only local anesthesia.
- First in Texas to use a medicine-coated stent designed to prevent re-narrowing of the coronary arteries.
- One of the first sites in the United States (and the first in Houston) to test the Intuitive surgical robot for use in operations.
- First FDA-approved clinical trial in the United States of adult stem cell therapy for the treatment of congestive heart failure.
The Texas Heart Institute has a number of educational programs that may be of benefit to physicians and lay persons who are interested in learning more about heart disease.
The Center for Cardiac Support developed a course to train health care professionals in the use of the various cardiac support technologies. Through lectures, discussions, case presentations, and laboratory exercises, course participants will learn the best treatment options for their patients who require cardiac support. The course is delivered by staff from the Texas Heart Institute’s Center for Cardiac Support. The staff’s extensive experience in the field and the Texas Heart Institute’s state-of-the-art facilities provide a unique educational opportunity for participants.
Institute physicians and scientists publish approximately 300 scientific manuscripts every year in medical journals that are indexed via PubMed. The Texas Heart Institute Journal, a quarterly medical journal received by 45 000 cardiovascular physicians internationally, can be accessed via PubMed and the PubMed Central website. Heart Watch, a quarterly scientific bulletin is available in English and Spanish versions. In addition, a Library and Learning Resource Center is available to THI health professionals and researchers for accessing electronic systems and print publications that contain information about cardiovascular disease.
THI has a variety of postdoctoral programs. Each year, 100 heart specialists improve their knowledge and skills through participation in these programs, which have been instrumental in the training of more than 2600 heart specialists from 44 states and 47 countries.
Continuing Medical Education provides online programs designed to keep physicians from throughout the world up-to-date with the latest information on the prevention and treatment of heart disease. The website offers physicians, scientists, and health care professionals the opportunity to view and receive free credit for online symposia, cardiology grand rounds, courses in ethics and heart sounds auscultation, and case studies in peripheral vascular disease, electrophysiology, and echocardiography.
The Heart Information Center (HIC) is a free, heart-health information resource for patients and the public. The facility, comprising a library of print and multimedia resources and computer workstations with Internet access, is located on the first floor of the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital–The Denton A. Cooley Building. The HIC also provides assistance to the public via e-mail and telephone inquiries and an extensive website resource offering more than 150 heart-health topics in both English and Spanish.
The Project Heart website, a resource for teachers, parents, and students, extends the HIC outreach to the virtual classroom. With complete lesson plans for kindergarten through 6th grade, the site provides educators with activities to teach heart anatomy, good nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle. All materials comply with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills criteria.
The Texas Heart Institute is located in the Denton A. Cooley Building, adjacent to its clinical partner, St. Luke’s Hospital, within the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas. The 327,000-square foot, 10-story Cooley Building was designed for four primary purposes—patient care, research, education, and clinical treatment. There are twelve 650-square-foot (60 m2) operating rooms devoted exclusively to heart procedures and three floors of specialized patient care rooms.
Two floors of the Cooley Building are devoted to the molecular and cellular study (basic scientific research) of cardiovascular disease. One of those floors is used collaboratively by The University of Texas system for cardiovascular research. A helistop is located on the roof of the building, which increases the efficiency of emergency patient care and the heart transplant program.
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- Cooley DA, DeBakey ME. Ruptured aneurysms of abdominal aorta: excision and homograft replacement. Postgrad Med 1954;16:334-342
- Cooley DA. Carotid endarterectomy: from first recorded case to present. Tex Heart Inst J 1988;15:139-141
- Cooley DA, Al-Naaman YD, Carton CA. Surgical treatment of arteriosclerotic occlusion of common carotid artery. J Neurosurg 1956;13:500-506
- Cooley DA, Collins HA, Morris GC Jr, Chapman DW. Ventricular aneurysm after myocardial infarction: surgical excision with use of temporary cardiopulmonary bypass. JAMA 1958;167:557-560
- Hallman GL, Cooley DA, McNamara DG, Latson JR: Single left coronary artery with fistula to right ventricle: reconstruction of two-coronary system with Dacron graft. Circulation 1965;32:293-297.
- Cooley DA, Beall AC Jr, Grondin P. Open-heart operations with disposable oxygenators, 5 percent dextrose prime, and normothermia. Surgery 1962;52:713-719
- Cooley DA, Crawford ES, Howell JF, Beall AC Jr. Open heart surgery in Jehovah's Witnesses. Am J Cardiol 1964;13:779-781
- Norman JC. An intracorporeal (abdominal) left ventricular assist device [ALVAD]: clinical readiness and initial trials in man. Cardiovasc Dis. 1976;3(3):249-288.
- Norman JC, Duncan JM, Frazier OH, Hallman GL, Ott DA, Reul GJ, Cooley DA. Intracorporeal (abdominal) left ventricular assist devices or partial artificial hearts: A five-year clinical experience. Arch Surg. 1981 Nov;116(11):1441-5.
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- Cooley DA. New mitral and aortic valve prostheses: design and clinical results. Cardiovascular Diseases, Bulletin of the Texas Heart Institute 1974;1:46-51
- Livesay JJ. Intraoperative laser coronary angioplasty. Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1988 Jun;36 Suppl 2:150-4.
- Livesay JJ, Cooley DA: Laser coronary endarterectomy: proposed treatment for diffuse coronary atherosclerosis. Tex Heart Inst J 1984;11:276-279
- Livesay JJ, Leachman DR, Hogan PJ, Cooper JR, Sweeney MS, Frazier OH, Cooley DA. Preliminary report on laser coronary endarterectomy in patients. Circulation 1985;72(suppl III):III-302.
- Frazier OH, Duncan JM, Radovancevic B, Vega JD, Baldwin RT, Burnett CM, Lonquist JL. Successful bridge to heart transplantation with a new left ventricular assist device. J Heart Lung Transplant. 1992 May-Jun;11(3 Pt 1):530-7.
- Frazier OH, Delgado RM III, Kar B, Patel V, Gregoric ID, Myers TJ: First clinical use of the redesigned HeartMate II left ventricular assist device in the United States: a case report. Tex Heart Inst J 2004;31(2):157-159.
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- Krajcer Z, Diethrich EB. Successful endoluminal repair of arterial aneurysms by Wallstent prosthesis and PTFE graft: preliminary results with a new technique. J Endovasc Surg. 1997 Feb;4(1):80-7.
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