Remembering Dr. Leatherman

We fondly remember the contributions of Dr. Louis L. Leatherman to cardiology in general and to the catheterization program here at Texas Heart Institute. He started as a cardiology fellow here, before going into private practice. He continued to collaborate closely with cardiologists here at THI and the hospital working to develop catheterization procedures to better treat his patients.

“He moved to Houston in 1968 for his cardiology fellowship, sponsored by Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). During his training at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital (SLEH) and the Texas Heart Institute (THI), he grew to appreciate his colleagues’ aggressive management of heart and vascular disease. Their varied approaches to diseases and problems taught him to think flexibly when he evaluated his own patients. He participated in SLEH’s first heart transplant program and considered it “fantastically exciting.”

Cardiologists were also seeking alternatives to open heart surgery for treating blockages in coronary arteries. In the late 1970s, a new technique, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), enabled special catheters to be threaded into coronary arteries and inflated to reopen blocked blood vessels. Dr. Leatherman, along with Dr. Paolo Angelini, brought PTCA to THI after studying under Dr. Andreas Gruentzig. In 1979, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute chose THI as a test site, and, by April 1980, THI physicians had performed 100 PTCA procedures.”

Dr. Patrick J. Cook

Read the full In Memorium in the Texas Heart Institute Journal