KEY MILESTONES

1962 – Dr. Denton Cooley founded the Texas Heart® Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital.

1968 – First successful heart transplant in U.S.

1969 – First implantation in the world of a total artificial heart.

1975 – First implantation of an abdominal left ventricular assist device, used to sustain patients awaiting suitable donor hearts.

1981 – Second implantation in the world of a total artificial heart.

1985 – First laser angioplasty procedure in the U.S.

1988 – First use of an eraser-sized continuous-flow heart assist device called the Hemopump, proving the concept that an assist device could be placed directly in the bloodstream.

1991 – First in the U.S. to implant a battery-powered left ventricular assist device.

1996 – One of only two centers to receive federal funding to develop a new total artificial heart.

1996 – First to show that temperature variation in vulnerable plaque can predict heart attack risk.

2000 – First implantation of a Jarvik 2000 continuous-flow heart assist device.

2003 – First in U.S. to implant the HeartMate II heart-assist device.

2004 – First center to receive FDA approval for a human trial of adult stem cells to treat patients with advanced heart failure.

2007 – One of only five centers in the Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network, the first national consortium to receive federal funding for adult stem cell studies.

2010 – Approval by the FDA of the HeartMate II heart assist device, initially developed at THI, for treatment of patients ineligible for a heart transplant.

Since 1962 when Dr. Denton A. Cooley founded the Texas Heart® Institute at CHI St. Luke's Health–Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, our physicians have led the way in heart care. Today, those physicians continue to advance heart care toward less invasive procedures that are generally less risky, less costly and reduce recovery times for patients.

Among recent innovations we developed, researched or implemented are:

December 2010

  • Optical Coherence Tomography – First in Houston to use this breakthrough imaging to better diagnose and treat patients with blocked arteries.  The technology gives high-resolution images that can be important in assessing stent placement by clearly showing how the stent is holding an artery open and where it is positioned correctly against the artery wall, optimizing treatment and follow-up strategies.
  • Endurant AAA Stent Graft System – Second in the nation to perform an endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair (EVAR) using this newly approved FDA device for the minimally invasive treatment of the largely unknown, and often fatal, condition. Often called "the silent killer," an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a dangerous bulge or ballooning in the main artery of the body that typically causes no symptoms until it ruptures. The Endurant system expands the number of U.S. patients for whom EVAR may be a viable treatment option.

January 2011

  • LARIAT Suture Delivery Device – First in Texas and one of the few in nation to treat patients with a new catheter-based procedure that uses sutures to tie off the left atrial appendage (LAA), which is known to be a major source of blood clots that may lead to stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation, or irregular heart rhythm.  The device was invented by a THI-affiliated physician, who was looking for a way to close the LAA without major surgery.
  • Arctic Front Cardiac CryoAblation Catheter System – Among the first in the nation to treat patients for an irregular heartbeat with a new, minimally invasive cryoballoon technology that uses cold rather than heat to interrupt faulty electrical circuits in the heart. Unlike traditional ablation treatments that use radiofrequency, or heat, to destroy faulty electrical circuits in the heart, Arctic Front uses a freezing technology, with a coolant delivered through a balloon catheter. This allows the catheter to adhere to the tissue during ablation, resulting in greater catheter stability.

February 2011

  • Revo MRI™ Sure Scan Pacing System – Among the first in Texas using newly approved pacemaker technology to safely overcome barriers that previously blocked patients fitted with pacemakers from access to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines for medical diagnosis. The FDA recently approved the device as MR-Conditional, meaning that it can be used in conjunction with MRI under certain conditions, such as a particular type of MRI scanner and scanner settings.

April 2011

  • CoreValve® U.S. Pivotal Trial – One of three Texas sites in a clinical trial of an innovative treatment for severe aortic stenosis, a life-threatening heart valve condition in which the aortic valve stiffens and fails to open properly, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood. The condition is more prevalent as people age and not only impacts one's quality of life, but can lead to heart failure and increased risk of sudden cardiac death.  Currently, open-heart surgery is the standard treatment for aortic stenosis.