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Surgical Innovations at Texas Heart Institute
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Dr. Cooley and the other surgeons at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital have developed and tested many innovative techniques, including some surgical “firsts.”

  • First removal of aneurysms of the aorta.
  • First carotid endarterectomy.
  • First removal of aneurysms that form in the heart’s lower left chamber.
  • Treatment of babies born with heart defects.
  • First bypass to reroute blood flow around a congenital defect in a coronary artery.
  • Use of a liquid sugar solution rather than blood to prime the heart-lung machine. This allowed the first open heart operations on patients of the Jehovah’s Witness faith, whose religion does not allow them to receive blood or blood products. See Perfusionist.
  • Development of fabric grafts.
  • Development of Cooley–Cutter artificial heart valves.
  • First federal approval for use of a laser to remove plaque from the coronary arteries.
  • Development of techniques to reduce the risk of paralysis after operations on the aorta.
  • First transmyocardial laser revascularization.
  • Pioneering minimally invasive coronary artery bypass surgery.
  • One of the first sites in the United States (and the first in Houston) to test the Intuitive surgical robot for use in operations.

The Research section of this website provides more detail.


Updated October 2013
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Heart Information Center or call 1-800-292-2221.
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Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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