About Us

Located at Houston Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center is the culmination of a long tradition of innovation in cardiovascular care. Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, for whom the center is named, was a pioneer in the field of modern cardiac medicine, and our doctors and staff carry on in the spirit of his example as they advance the art and science of cardiovascular care.

Our center brings together cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and cardiovascular anesthesiologists who take a collaborative approach to patient care and research. Each member of our team  contributes specialized expertise honed by years of experience, enabling us to offer each patient the best possible combination of treatments for his or her specific condition.  

History of Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center 
About Dr. Michael E. DeBakey 
Dr. Michael E. DeBakey Photo Gallery 

History of the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center

Since Dr. Michael E. DeBakey's arrival in 1948, Houston Methodist has been leading medicine in the care of  heart patients and groundbreaking research to advance the field of cardiovascular medicine.

1953 Dr. Michael E. DeBakey performs the first successful removal of a blockage in the carotid artery, establishing the field of surgical treatment of stroke.

1954  Dr. DeBakey invents the Dacron graft using his wife’s sewing machine.

1964  Dr. DeBakey performs the first aortocoronary artery bypass.

1968  Dr. DeBakey performs the first multiple-organ transplant of a heart, one lung and both kidneys from one donor to four recipients.

1980  Doctors at Houston Methodist perform the first angioplasty. Drs. Nadim Zaca, Albert Raizner and George Noon perform the first rotational atherectomy, utilizing a diamond-tipped file to wear down plaque built up in an artery.

1984 Houston Methodist doctors are among the first to treat heart attack patients by administering clot-dissolving drugs directly into the coronary artery.

1985 Doctors at Houston Methodist Hospital perform the first heart-lung transplant in Texas.

Houston Methodist is one of the three institutions to simultaneously discover that radiation immediately following an angioplasty can dramatically reduce restenosis, a re-narrowing of the artery. Houston Methodist becomes the first to test this procedure in patients.

1987  Houston Methodist Hospital is recognized as the first Medicare-designated heart transplant center in Texas and one of the first seven in the country.

1989  Drs. Albert Raizner, Steve Minor and Neal Kleiman perform the second implantation of a stent to reinforce artery walls during angioplasty in the United States.

1996  Dr. William Spencer treats the first patient with the alcohol ablation procedure to intentionally cause a mild heart attack, reducing the enlarged muscle between the heart’s pumping chambers.

1998  Dr. Michael Reardon performs the first successful autotransplant for cardiac malignancy.

2000  The first patient in the United States is implanted with the MicroMed DeBakey Ventricular Assist Device.

2000 Dr. Joseph Coselli performs his 1,600th thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair procedure — more than any other surgeon in the world.

2001  The Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center officially opens.

2001 Dr. Guillermo Torre-Amione treats the first patient with IMT (immune modulation therapy); this initial clinical trial leads to European approval.

2003  One of the nation’s first stereotactic cardiac catheterization labs opens in the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center under the supervision of Dr. Neal Kleiman. Studies conducted at Houston Methodist lead to FDA approval of the country’s newest cholesterol-lowering drugs.

2004  Dr. Mattias Loebe performs the nation’s first percutaneous implantation of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center.

The center begins publishing the Methodist DeBakey Cardiovascular Journal, a peer-reviewed quarterly publication.

2005 Drs. Alan Lumsden and Michael Reardon perform the first hybrid procedure in the United States to repair a large aneurysm of the aortic arch. The procedure combines a catheter stent with surgical intervention and requires deep hypothermia to stop the heart and to cool the body to very low temperatures.

Houston Methodist becomes the first hospital in Texas to be recognized by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association in their "Get With the Guidelines" program, which assesses and identifies hospitals that meet high quality measures for treating heart disease.

2007  Dr. Gerald Lawrie of the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center performs an "American Correction" mitral valve repair using a surgical robot — a world first.

2008  Stem cell research for treating cardiac and vascular diseases begins at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center.

The Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center hosts Pumps & Pipes, a unique conference for Houston’s two largest industries — medicine and energy — designed to cultivate unique research opportunities.

The Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center teams with the Houston Texans and the American Red Cross to train thousands of Houstonians in CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) use.

The center becomes one of the first to repair a leak surrounding a patient’s mitral valve through a small puncture hole in the groin.

2009  The Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center opens a new multidisciplinary valve clinic for patients with complex cardiac valve disease.

2010  The heart center opens a new multidisciplinary aortic network dedicated to patients across Houston with aortic disease.

2011  The center launches a first-of-its-kind national center for comprehensive continuing medical education in cardiovascular and vascular disease: the DeBakey Institute for Cardiovascular Education and Training (DICET)

About Dr. Michael E. DeBakey

Michael Ellis DeBakey (1908–2008) is known internationally as a cardiovascular surgical pioneer. First and foremost a surgeon, he was also an inventor, a scholar and a medical statesman. In a career that spanned seven decades, he developed many of today’s standard surgical treatments for cardiac and vascular disease. 

Lessons of Childhood

A month before the first Model T Ford would be completed, Dr. DeBakey was born to Raheehja and Shaker Morris DeBakey, Lebanese immigrants in Lake Charles, Louisiana. His parents instilled in him the compassion, discipline and thirst for knowledge that would later become the hallmarks of his reputation. Shaker Morris DeBakey possessed an entrepreneurial spirit, working as a businessman, pharmacist and investor, while Raheehja was active in local nonprofit organizations. 

Dr. DeBakey graduated as valedictorian from high school in 1926. He received a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University in 1930 and a medical degree from the Tulane University School of Medicine in 1932. During his final year in medical school, he invented the “roller pump,” a device that allows blood to continuously flow during operations. That same device would be used two decades later in the first open heart surgery. The roller pump was the first of more than 50 surgical instruments Dr. DeBakey developed to repair hearts and arteries.

Healer in Wartime

At the beginning of World War II, Dr. DeBakey volunteered for military service. He served four years in the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and received the Legion of Merit Award in 1945 for work that led to the development of mobile surgical hospitals, known as MASH units. MASH units were first deployed during the Korean War, using airplanes and helicopters to bring wounded soldiers from front-line care centers to surgical hospitals. A soldier who made it to a MASH unit had a remarkable 97 percent chance of survival. 

Dr. DeBakey further organized a medical center system to treat soldiers returning from war and proposed a systematic follow-up of veterans with certain medical problems. These institutions are now known respectively as the Veterans' Administration (VA) Medical Center System and VA's Medical Research Program. 

Heritage for Houston

In 1948, Dr. DeBakey moved to Houston and joined both the staff of Houston Methodist Hospital and the faculty of the Baylor College of Medicine. He was essential to the Texas Medical Center’s evolution into the largest medical complex in the world, personally recruiting doctors and researchers and developing numerous innovative treatments. His achievements read as a series of medical breakthroughs: development of the first artificial grafts for cardiac bypass surgery, the first removal of a blockage of the carotid artery, the first patch-graft angioplasty, the first aorto-coronary artery bypass and the first successful use of an artificial heart. 

Over the course of his career, Dr. DeBakey performed an estimated 60,000 surgeries, trained thousands of surgeons and authored or co-authored 1,300 published articles. He passed away at Houston Methodist Hospital in July 2008, bequeathing to the future a legacy of groundbreaking advancements in the field of cardiovascular medicine. 

Photo Gallery

A photographic history of the heart surgery pioneer, Dr. Michael DeBakey.