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Heart Information Center
Research Milestones & Discoveries
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Research Milestones and Discoveries

Surgical researchers at the Texas Heart Institute have reached many milestones over the years, including

  • First implantation of a total artificial heart.
  • Implantation of the first government-sponsored left ventricular assist device.
  • First implantation of the Hemopump, a heart assist device the size of a pencil eraser.
  • Implantation of the first electrical left ventricular assist device.
  • First implantation of the Jarvik 2000 continuous flow assist device.
  • Use of a laser to bore channels through the heart muscle to increase blood flow.
  • Development and testing of a revolutionary new 3-leaflet mechanical heart valve.
  • First implantation in the United States of the HeartMate II, designed for small adults and children.
  • First implantation of a continuous-flow device comprising 2 blood pumps implanted to replace the 2 sides of the patient's removed heart. The 2 pumps act as a man-made substitute for the natural heart.

Cardiology researchers at the Texas Heart Institute have made discoveries that improve patients’ lives in many ways. For example, they

  • Discovered that warmer plaque is more likely to rupture and increase the risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death.
  • Used gene therapy to protect arteries from blood clots and from re-narrowing after a catheter interventional procedure.
  • Developed special cells to line the inside of a heart assist device to protect the blood as it travels through the device.
  • Designed new ways to place genes into cells.
  • Tested a new gamma-radiation treatment intended to prevent arteries with stents from re-narrowing.
  • Developed ways to see inside cells to learn how a disease progresses.
  • Learned how vascular muscle cells communicate to produce substances that can help or hurt the heart.
  • Found that elevated levels of a substance in the blood called C-reactive protein is not only a sign of heart disease but also a predictor of heart attack.

The Research section of this website provides more detail.

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