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Katy, TX News (April 20, 2015) – On Saturday, April 11, Dr. Charles D. Fraser, Jr., surgeon-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital and professor of surgery and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, presented at the Texas Surgical Society meeting in Galveston. Fraser, who is the son-in-law of Dr. Denton A. Cooley, spoke on the 60-year experience (1954-2014) in pediatric heart surgery and the roles played by Cooley and himself.

Photo by:  Phil Steffek, Texas Children's Hospital
Photo by: Phil Steffek, Texas Children’s Hospital

In 1954, Texas Children’s Hospital opened, and soon thereafter, Cooley initiated a surgical program for children with congenital heart disease. Initial efforts focused on palliative procedures including the Blalock-Taussig Shunt, followed by early intracardiac repairs using the heart-lung bypass machine.

Texas Children’s was quickly established as a center for the development of surgical techniques for children with all forms of cardiac disease. In 1995, an integrated, dedicated children’s heart center was developed by Fraser adding additional focus on complex repairs, particularly in newborn babies.

Since the inception of the program in 1954, there have been more than 27,000 cardiac operations performed at Texas Children’s including successive increases in case volume in each decade. In the present era, more than 20 percent of patients are newborns and 50 percent are infants.

To provide every available therapeutic option, a pediatric cardiac transplant program was initiated in 1984 and to date, more than 325 pediatric heart transplant operations have been performed. In 2001, a lung transplant program was opened – 165 pediatric lung transplants have been performed. Each decade has seen increasing case volumes and complexity, but with steadily improved mortality rates, now consistently <2 percent and specifically <1 percent in 2014 which is well above the national average of 3 percent.

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