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O. H. Frazier, MD
"The devices we've been developing and testing are either ventricular assist devices or artificial hearts. They are all pumps of some type, but they each work differently for a specific function," explains Dr. Bud Frazier, who has been instrumental in the development of many of the devices.

Heart Assist Devices
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An historic milestone for THI
1,000 LVAD implants and counting, smaller and helping more patients
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Video interview with O. H. "Bud" Frazier, MD; Chief, Center for Cardiac Support; Director, Cardiovascular Surgery Research; and Co-Director, Cullen Cardiovascular Research Laboratories, at Texas Heart Institute.

O. H. "Bud" Frazier, MD, on his inspiration for developing treatments for heart failure at the Texas Heart Institute.


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The Texas Heart Institute is a world leader in the development, testing and application of heart assist devices. Our goal for the surgical research conducted here is to develop and determine the best assist device to use for each individual patient. Devices may be referred to as mechanical assist devices, ventricular assist devices (VAD), left ventricular assist devices (LVAD), total artificial hearts (TAH), or simply heart pumps.

The adjacent list describes devices currently in use at THI as well as those of historical interest and those in the research and development stages. 

Heart assist devices in the news: 

August 26, 2014
Artificial Heart that skips a beat

Texas Heart Institute BiVACOR total artificial heart project is listed as one of "25 ideas to change the world" in the Australian newspaper, The Courier Mail.  Instead of using a pumping action to maintain a continuous flow of blood throughout the body,the BiVACOR device propels blood using blades which rotate at 2000 times per minute and is the size of a fist. Read more here.

April 28, 2014Dr. James T. Willerson, Dr. Bud Frazier and Dr. Denton A. Cooley, photos at CultureMap website.
Surgeon's Career Celebrated     
Frazier Holds World Record for Heart Transplants, LVADs
Texas Heart Institute surgeon Dr. O.H. "Bud" Frazier, who has performed more heart transplants and left ventricular assist device implantations that any other surgeon in the world, was honored at an April 17 dinner attended by Houston's medical and community leaders. View photos and read more about the event at CultureMap.

October 12, 2013 
Pete Huttlinger, heart pump recipientCHI St. Luke’s Health - Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center Patient Releases 'Heartfelt' Album 
Widely recognized as one of the top acoustic guitarists in the world, Pete Huttlinger [heart pump recipient] has finally released his highly anticipated, 15-track album named McGuire's Landing that he began working on in 2006. He credits Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and the Texas Heart Institute with giving him the opportunity to finish what he started.
 — Texas Medical Center News Online  

Watch LVAD recipient Pete Huttlinger jam with Dr. Billy Cohn on YouTube.

February/March 2013 
High-Tech Heart Savers 
These innovative new procedures could save your life. "A team at the Texas Heart Institute [with Dr. William Cohn] has introduced a new device, called a beatless heart, that pushes blood through the body at a steady rate." — The Magazine from AARP 

January 23, 2013 
Keeping hearts pumping   Dr. Bud Frazier and Dr. Billy Cohn with heart pump BiVacor. [Photo credit Mayra Beltran, Houston Chronicle]
Doctors push the limits of heart-pump technology in an effort to save lives. Dr. Bud Frazier often tells a story about when he was a medical student in the 1960s ... Frazier had this thought: If I can keep a man alive with my hand, why can't we make a pump that we can pull off of the shelf to do the same thing? Dr. Billy Cohn, another physician who works at the cutting edge of heart pump technology, likes to use the history of human flight as an analogy for the evolution in his field. Experimenters in both domains had to give up the idea of bio-mimicry to advance the technology. "It is similar to when man first tried to build a flying machine with flapping wings that mimic the birds. It is obvious now that fixed wings were the way to go," he says. "We think it is the same with the nonpulsatile pump, which, because it has only one moving part, is much more durable." - Houston Chronicle [Photo credit Mayra Beltran]

January 13, 2013
BiVACOR artificial heart deviceMattress Mack donation brings BiVACOR artificial heart to Houston
Australian engineer Daniel Timm's revolutionary device to be developed at THI. "I think we're beyond the Kitty Hawk stage with this," - Drs. Bud Frazier and Billy Cohn. Read Eric Berger's Houston Chronicle article.

January 9, 2013
Drs. Bud Frazier and Billy CohnThe 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 . . .

November 20, 2012 
FDA Approves HeartWare LVAD for HF 
The FDA gave the green light for the HeartWare Ventricular Assist System as a bridge to heart transplantation in patients with heart failure. "The miniaturized device with an integrated inflow cannula is placed within the pericardial sac . . . simplifying the surgical insertion," said O.H. "Bud" Frazier, MD, of Texas Heart Institute. Read the full story from

July 25, 2012   
Shawn Galloway - SynCardia Total Artificial Heart - PRNewswireTexas Mother Bridged to Heart Transplant with
SynCardia Total Artificial Heart Excited to Adopt
New Baby One Year Later
"On Sept. 20, 2011, 39-year-old Shawn Galloway was given new life when she received a donor heart transplant [at Texas Heart Institute in Houston] after 60 days of support with the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart. This September, Galloway and her family will be blessed with new life for a second time." Read the article from Read Shawn Galloway's story at

Albert and Brian Benoit




A story of two hearts, a father and a son. Albert and Brian Benoit tell their stories of how an LVAD saved two lives. Watch their story on YouTube.  (June 2012).



Drs. Bud Frazier & Billy Cohn TEDMED 2012

Is this the future of artificial hearts?

At TEDMED 2012, Bud Frazier and Billy Cohn of the Texas Heart Institute preview a continuous-flow heart pump with minimal parts that works via a screw pump. Watch the VIDEO on YouTube.



Artificial Heart - photo by Jack Thompson, Popular Science

No Pulse: How Doctors Reinvented The Human Heart
"This 10,000-rpm, no-pulse artificial heart doesn't resemble an organic heart--and might be all the better for it." The March 2012 issue of Popular Science magazine featured Dr. Bud Frazier and Dr. Billy Cohn and their story of the development of the "total artificial heart." Read the full article at


Prototype of miniaturized heart pump developed by Cameron engineers and THI researchersCameron Engineers, THI researchers collaborate on heart pump 
Engineers and scientists at Cameron Manufacturing & Engineering have worked with THI researchers in developing a new heart pump. On March 1, 2012, Cameron donated $500,000 to Texas Heart Institute at CHI St. Luke’s Health - Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center to develop a prototype heart pump which could save countless lives. 


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