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Research Milestones and Discoveries
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Surgical researchers at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital have reached many milestones over the years, including

  • First implantation of a total artificial heart.
  • Implantation of the first government-sponsored left ventricular assist device.
  • First implantation of the Hemopump, a heart assist device the size of a pencil eraser.
  • Implantation of the first electrical left ventricular assist device.
  • First implantation of the Jarvik 2000 continuous flow assist device.
  • Use of a laser to bore channels through the heart muscle to increase blood flow.
  • Development and testing of a revolutionary new 3-leaflet mechanical heart valve.
  • First implantation in the United States of the HeartMate II, designed for small adults and children.
  • First implantation of a continuous-flow device comprising 2 blood pumps implanted to replace the 2 sides of the patient's removed heart. The 2 pumps act as a man-made substitute for the natural heart.

Cardiology researchers at the Texas Heart Institute have made discoveries that improve patients’ lives in many ways. For example, they

  • Discovered that warmer plaque is more likely to rupture and increase the risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death.
  • Used gene therapy to protect arteries from blood clots and from re-narrowing after a catheter interventional procedure.
  • Developed special cells to line the inside of a heart assist device to protect the blood as it travels through the device.
  • Designed new ways to place genes into cells.
  • Tested a new gamma-radiation treatment intended to prevent arteries with stents from re-narrowing.
  • Developed ways to see inside cells to learn how a disease progresses.
  • Learned how vascular muscle cells communicate to produce substances that can help or hurt the heart.
  • Found that elevated levels of a substance in the blood called C-reactive protein is not only a sign of heart disease but also a predictor of heart attack.

The Research section of this website provides more detail.


Updated October 2013
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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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