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Donor heart prepared for transplantaion

Akutsu Total Artificial Heart - 1981

Jarvik 2000 Flowmaker

Donor heart for transplantation

Total Artificial Heart -1981

Jarvik 2000 Flowmaker

1962 Texas Heart Institute founded by Denton A. Cooley, MD.

1968 First successful heart transplantation in the United States.

1969 First implantation in the world of an artificial heart in a human.

1974 Clayton Research Cardiac Catheterization Labs open.

1975 First study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of an implantable left ventricular assist device (LVAD) for post-cardiotomy support.

1976 First accredited School of Perfusion Technology in the United States.

1977 Electrophysiology Lab opens on second floor.

1978 First bridge-to-transplant with an LVAD.

1981 Second implantation in the world of an artificial heart in a human.


  • First laser angioplasty procedure performed in the United States.
  • First laser coronary endarterectomy procedure performed in the United States.


  • First peripheral laser procedure in Texas, one of first in United States.
  • First implant of the HeartMate pneumatically powered LVAD, as a bridge to transplant.

1990 First cases of MAZE surgery performed at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital for atrial fibrillation.

1991 First patient in the world left the hospital with an electric, portable, battery-powered LVAD.


  • Selected as one of 7 centers in the United States to participate in the federal government's Heart Demonstration Project for Medicare patients.
  • American Heart Association journal Circulation placed at THI/SLEH for an 11-year period, longer than any placement in its history.

1994 FDA approval to use the HeartMate pneumatic LVAD as a bridge to transplantation.

1996 FDA approval to use the electric HeartMate as a bridge to transplantation.


  • One of 6 centers chosen for cardiac magnetic resonance imaging trials.
  • Groundbreaking for the new Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital—The Denton A. Cooley Building.

1999 FDA approval of a stent graft tested exclusively at THI/SLEH for repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms.

2000 First site for clinical trials of the Jarvik 2000, a miniature, axial flow left ventricular assist device.


  • First demonstration that C-Reactive Protein (CRP) causes vascular inflammation.
  • 100,000th open heart operation performed.
  • Completed REMATCH study, which compared long-term implantation of the HeartMate electric LVAD to conventional medical therapy for heart failure.
  • Implantation of the AbioCor total artificial heart.

The Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Hospital - The Denton A. Cooley Building2002

  • Dedication of the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital–The Denton A. Cooley Building.
  • HeartMate electric LVAD approved for destination therapy.


  • First nationally ranked cardiovascular center in the United States to open a cath lab medical simulation training center.
  • First implantation of a HeartMate II LVAD in the United States.


  • First FDA-approved clinical trial of adult stem cell therapy for congestive heart failure in the United States.
  • First U.S. patient to receive HeartMate II LVAD surpasses one year of survival with the device.

2005  Project Heart website announced, providing a heart-smart resource for teachers in grades K through 6.

2006 1,000th heart transplant performed.

2007 National Institutes of Health selects THI as one of five centers for Stem Cell Study Consortium.


  • First clinical trial to treat heart attack patients with a special type of stem cell to promote better healing and to prevent congestive heart failure.  
  • HeartMate II® Left Ventricular Assist System (LVAS) received FDA approval as a bridge-to-transplantation (BTT) treatment option for patients suffering from advanced-stage heart failure. 
  • First in the U.S. to implant a pacemaker enclosed in a mesh envelope embedded with two antibiotic agents that provide site-specific antibiotic protection.  
  • A $2.8 million National Institutes of Health grant to THI funds development of a novel "pulse-less" total artificial heart.  
  • James T. Willerson, MD appointed president and medical director.  
  • New online public education service, Ask a Texas Heart Institute Doctor launched.  
  • First in Texas to implant a newly FDA-approved, minimally invasive device for the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA).  
  • THI physician scientists provided the impetus for and leadership of one of the largest clinical trials of a cholesterol-lowering drug ever conducted. The JUPITER Trial ended early after producing commanding evidence that elevated CRP blood levels identify patients with increased risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death, and that treating these individuals with a potent statin markedly reduces their risk.


  • THI / MD Anderson study finds link between CRP levels and cardiovascular disease. 
  • THI and The University of Texas System strengthen their affiliation.
  • A $4.1 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant awarded to THI to determine the effects of a total artificial heart on bodily functions.
  • $1 million in NIH stimulus funds awarded to THI and Rice University for MRI tracking of stem cells in heart tissue regeneration.


  • A $1 million Challenge Grant awarded to THI and University of Houston for research toward developing prostacyclin-secreting cells, a revolutionary cell-based therapy to prevent the effects of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH).
  • FDA approves continuous-flow heart device pioneered at THI for use as a permanent treatment for advanced heart failure.
  • THI pioneers a breakthrough technique for turning ordinary human skin cells into early-stage heart cells.
  • THI researchers advance understanding of human development through discovery of stem cell protein regulation.
  • THI research shows simple blood tests can monitor heart transplant rejection.
  • $1.5 million NIH grant awarded to THI for study of adult stem cells and heart assist devices as combined therapy for heart failure.
  • THI performs 1000th carotid artery stent procedure for stroke prevention.
  • Doctors at THI perform carotid artery stent procedure on patient implanted with an LVAD for the first time.
  • THI establishes new Center for Women's Heart & Vascular Health
  • THI establishes new Center for Coronary Artery Anomalies.
  • THI and Houston ISD announce medical research program to screen/study 10,000 students/athletes for heart conditions associated with Sudden Cardiac Death.
  • Second in the nation to treat abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) patient with a minimally invasive, FDA-approved device called the Endurant AAA Stent Graft System.
  • First in Houston to implant Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), a new imaging tool to make more informed decisions when assessing and treating heart arterial blockages. 


  • First in Texas to treat patients using LARIAT Suture Delivery Devices, a new catheter-based procedure that uses sutures to tie off the left atrial appendage, a major source of  blood clots that may lead to stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation.
  • Among first in nation to treat patients for irregular heartbeat with the Arctic Front Cardiac CryoAblation Catheter System, a minimally invasive cryo-balloon technology that uses cold rather than heat to interrupt faulty electrical circuits in the heart.
  • First in the southwestern United States to implant a newly approved pacemaker which allows patients to safely undergo MRI procedures.
  • First successful implantation of a continuous-flow total artificial heart in a  human being.


  • THI establishes Regenerative Medicine Research Laboratory.
  • Olympian Leo Manzano partners with THI as ambassador for heart health and inspires development of the interactive 7-Day Healthy Heart Challenge, online in THI's Project Heart.  
  • THI leads largest heart failure stem cell clinical trial to date. 
  • THI retains membership in national Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network (CCTRN) and is chosen as the Biorepository Core Lab for the Network. CCTRN was extended a renewed 7-year grant and membership was expanded. 
  • THI founder Dr. Denton A. Cooley publishes his memoirs, 100,000 Hearts, highlighting many historical firsts. 
  • A $500K grant from Cameron supports collaboration on heart pump device development. 
  • U.S. News & World Report ranks THI at St. Luke's in the top ten heart centers in the nation for 22nd consecutive year. 
  • The award-winning film, "Heart Stops Beating," documents THI's achievement for being the first to implant a continuous-flow artificial heart successfully in a human being. 
  • The THI Center for Women's Heart & Vascular Health becomes a member of WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, and sponsors the peer support group, WomenHeart Houston. 
  • Texas Heart Institute celebrates 30-year anniversary of heart transplantation. More than 1,200 patients have received new hearts, including the longest known survivor who received his heart 29 years ago. 
  • THI celebrates the Institute's 50-year anniversary, A Golden History, A Shining Future

  • One Thousand Left Ventricular Assist Devices: implanted the 1000th LVAD at Texas Heart Institute
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