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O.H. "Bud" Frazier, MD

O. H. Director of Cardiovascular Surgery Research,
Texas Heart Institute
Professor of Surgery,
University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston
Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery,

University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Tenured professor,
Baylor College of Medicine in Houston

For more than 25 years, Dr. Frazier has been a pioneer in the treatment of severe heart failure and in the fields of heart transplantation and artificial devices that may be used either to substitute for or to assist the pumping action of the human heart. As a result of his work, THI became one of the top transplantation and mechanical circulatory support programs in the world. He has performed over 1,100 heart transplants and implanted more than 700 left ventricular assist devices, more than any other surgeon in the world.

Dr. Frazier graduated from The University of Texas and received his medical degree at Baylor College of Medicine, where he received the DeBakey Award for Outstanding Surgical Student. He served in the Army 1968-70 and distinguished himself as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Army 48th Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam. He received the Combat Flight Medal, the Vietnamese Navy Medal, and the Vietnamese Distinguished Service Medal. After his military service, he returned to Houston and completed his specialty training in general surgery under Dr. Michael E. DeBakey at Baylor Affiliated Hospitals and a residency in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery under Dr. Denton A. Cooley at the Texas Heart Institute.

O. H. Frazier, MDDr. Frazier’s interest in mechanical circulatory support began in 1969, when, as a student at Baylor College of Medicine, he wrote a research paper about the experimental total artificial heart, which was first implanted in 1969 by Dr. Denton Cooley. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Dr. Frazier continued experimental work toward development of the implantable HeartMate I left ventricular assist device (LVAD). In 1986, he performed the first implant of one of these devices in a human; this device has become the most widely used implantable LVAD in the world. Dr. Frazier’s seminal work in the field of left ventricular assist devices continued with experimental studies that resulted in the first intravascular, implantable continuous flow pump (Hemopump), which he first implanted in a human in April 1988. After more than 10 years of research, in 2000, he performed the first human implant of the Jarvik 2000 LVAD (also a continuous flow pump). In November 2003, he implanted the first HeartMate II LVAD in a patient; the HeartMate II is based on a similar principle to that of the Hemopump. In 1991, one of Dr. Frazier’s patients was the first to be discharged home with an implantable, non-tethered LVAD.

In 1985, during his tenure on the Advisory Board of NHLBI, Dr. Frazier recommended that research be initiated on a total artificial heart (TAH) that would be fully implantable and that would allow patients to be discharged and to live a normal lifestyle. The program was recommended for funding, and, subsequently, in the early 1990s, Dr. Frazier became involved in the animal experiments that led to the first implantation of the AbioCor total artificial heart (TAH) in 2001. The AbioCor is currently the only non-tethered, implantable artificial heart approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Frazier continues to work toward a new generation TAH—one that is smaller and more reliable, so that patients of all sizes and ages might benefit. 

Join Drs. Bud Frazier and Billy Cohn for a community conversation.
January 9, 2013
"The revolutionary artificial heart without a pulse"
Dr. Bud Frazier has been working on making an artificial heart since the 1960s. In 2011, Frazier and his colleague Dr. Billy Cohn implanted the first of a new kind of artificial heart: one without a pulse. Minnesota Public Radio's The Daily Circuit talks with guests Dr. Bud Frazier and Dr. Billy Cohn from the Texas Heart Institute. Listen . . .
Dr. Frazier has served on the editorial boards of several distinguished medical journals, including Circulation, the premier journal of the American Heart Association, and The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. He has authored or co-authored more than 1000 scientific publications, presented over 700 lectures around the world, and written or edited numerous books in the field of cardiovascular medicine, cardiopulmonary transplantation, and mechanical circulatory support. He is a former chairman of the Federal Affairs Committee for the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs and has served on other prominent national committees, including the Education Committee of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and the Advisory Board of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. In 2001, he was elected president of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs.

Dr. Frazier has received numerous honors, including the Living Legend Award from the World Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons, the Gift to Mankind Award from the American Organ Transplant Association, the Distinguished Surgeon Award from the Houston Surgical Society, Honored Physician Award from the American Heart Association Guild and the Ray C. Fish Award for Scientific Achievement from the Texas Heart Institute.  


Located at the Heart and Lung Treatment and Transplant Center
Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center

LVAD PROGRAM 832-355-2285, toll free at 877-685-0361

HEART TRANSPLANT PROGRAM 832-355-2285, International: 832-355-3350


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Updated November 2016
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