Dr. O.H. Frazier Receives 2021 AATS Scientific Achievement Award

The Singular Honor Further Cements the Texas Heart Institute Surgical Pioneer’s Generational Legacy


HOUSTON, TX – The Texas Heart Institute is thrilled to announce that Dr. O. H. Frazier is the recipient of the 2021 Scientific Achievement Award from the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS). Established in 1994, the Award serves to honor individuals who have achieved scientific contributions in the field of thoracic surgery worthy of the highest recognition that the Association can bestow. Previous Houston recipients include Dr. Michael DeBakey (1999) and Dr. Denton Cooley (2000), two of the most distinguished cardiothoracic surgeons in the history of the field.


“As the cornerstone of one of the most dominant and innovative cardiac programs in the world, Dr. O.H. Frazier is a true cardiovascular pioneer whose impact on patients and the specialty is immeasurable. The leadership, innovation, and ingenuity that he has modeled throughout his career have revolutionized the field of heart transplantation and cardiac assisted devices. It is truly a distinct honor of my career for the opportunity to present the 2021 Scientific Achievement Award to Dr. Frazier,” emphasized Marc R. Moon, MD, President of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.


For more than 40 years, Dr. Frazier has been dedicated to improving the treatment of severe heart failure and advancing heart transplantation and artificial devices that substitute or assist with the pumping action of the human heart. He served on the NIH National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Advisory Committee and chaired the original committee that initiated the first federal allocation system for the distribution of hearts for transplantation. As a result of his work, Dr. Frazier is one of the top transplantation and mechanical circulatory support surgeons in the world. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Dr. Frazier conducted experimental work toward developing an implantable LVAD. In 2011, he implanted the first successful continuous-flow total artificial heart by using two second-generation HeartMate II LVADs to replace a patient’s failing heart.


“Being recognized by one’s peers is something I value to the utmost degree,” Dr. Frazier noted. He added, “I have long respected the work of the AATS and am grateful to the entire organization for selecting me out of so many other worthy individuals. It is an honor to join two of my mentors, Drs. Cooley and DeBakey, in receiving the Scientific Achievement Award. Any award that includes even one of them, let alone both, among its recipients is one that anyone in the medical field would feel immeasurable pride in receiving.”


Dr. Frazier formally presented the honor during the 101st AATS Annual Meeting, held virtually from April 30 to May 2. As part of the recognition, Dr. Frazier’s biography will be published in a forthcoming issue of The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.





The Texas Heart Institute, founded by world-renowned cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Denton A. Cooley in 1962, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the devastating toll of cardiovascular disease through innovative and progressive programs in research, education, and improved patient care. THI’s scientists and physicians conduct fundamental biomedical, translational, and clinical research in cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, molecular-based medicine, stem cell, and gene therapy, and regenerative medicine both independently and in collaboration with organizations worldwide. As global leaders of patient care for nearly six decades, Texas Heart Institute has been ranked among the top cardiovascular centers in the United States by U.S. News & World Report for the past 30 years. THI is dedicated to spreading awareness and sharing updates on ways to prevent, treat and defeat the cardiovascular disease. With over 10 million visitors coming to its website from around the world every year, www.texasheart.org is just one of the ways THI is helping to educate people on the importance of heart health.


About the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS)

Founded in 1917, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), along with its philanthropic arm, the AATS Foundation, has sought to advance the field of cardiothoracic surgery. It is an international organization whose members have a proven record of distinction within the specialty and have made significant contributions to the care and treatment of cardiothoracic disease throughout the world. For more information, please visit https://www.aats.org/aatsimis/AATSWeb.