The THI School of Perfusion Technology Celebrates Decades of Service

After 25 years of service, the director of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) School of Perfusion Technology is handing over his legacy.


Terry Crane has been involved with the perfusion school for more than four decades since graduating from college and coming to Houston to study with Denton A. Cooley, M.D. His contributions to the success of the program are countless, and the perfusion school is presently thriving. Since its opening in 1971, more than 900 students have graduated from the program. Many of those graduates were touched by Terry’s passion for the vital role perfusionists play in operating the heart-lung machine and other ancillary devices to support patients who require cardiac surgery.


Terry earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1971 from West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M University) and received his Certificate in Perfusion in 1973 from the THI School of Perfusion Technology. This program was the first accredited perfusion school in the United States and remains one of only 17 programs of its kind in the country today. The perfusion school has now gradated two generations of Crane family members: Terry and his daughter Jessica (pictured above), who completed the program in June 2011.


After graduation from the perfusion program, Terry accepted an offer to work at THI as a clinical perfusionist and served as the Associate Director of Clinical Perfusion. This decision allowed him to continue working closely with Dr. Cooley’s team, the program’s first director Charlie Reed, and new students.

In 1979, Terry went to work for a local medical device manufacturing firm. In 1981, he also pursued a Certificate in Management from Houston Baptist University. His prior experience as a perfusionist and the additional classes helped prepare him for his role during the next 15 years working for an industry leader in perfusion devices and advancing the field of perfusion technology. Terry’s education was further enhanced by assisting and learning from hundreds of surgeons, perfusionists, and nurses in cardiac centers across the United States and around the world during his travels. During the late 1980s when the field of bypass surgery saw exponential growth, Terry’s leadership and technical skills were in high demand, but because of Terry’s love of teaching perfusion students, he remained connected to the THI School of Perfusion Technology as a loyal volunteer.


In 1994, Terry’s passion for perfusion education led him to begin a transition from his industry roles in technical support and product development back to THI, working part-time as a clinical and academic perfusionist. By 2002, he was ready to work full-time for THI and continue assisting Dr. Cooley with the perfusion school, so he accepted the offer to serve as the Chief Perfusionist and Director of the THI School of Perfusion Technology.


Never one to embrace a sedentary lifestyle, Terry is looking forward to staying busy. He now plans to spend more time with his family, community, and some home improvement projects that have been on the back burner for decades. Terry expects his retirement schedule to be as full as his past work schedule.

“Since graduating from high school, motorcycles have been my preferred mode of transportation, and I have enjoyed trips to incredibly beautiful locations in the country on my bike.” Terry is a member of the Cut-n-Shoot Harley Owners Group (HOG), and they support their local community of Montgomery in many ways.


“I am actually excited about retirement, and I look forward to spending time with family and traveling. I hope to also find time to stop and see many of those 1,000 perfusion students I trained in the past 45 years.”


The Texas Heart Institute School of Perfusion Technology will host their Annual Perfusion Conference on June 5-6, 2020 in the Denton A. Cooley Auditorium. This year’s conference will honor Terry for his decades of contributions to medicine and will include a THI School of Perfusion alumni reunion.