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First heart transplanted in Houston


On this day in 1968, surgeon Denton Cooley and his associates at Houston's St. Luke's Hospital performed the first heart transplant in the United States. The patient, Everett Thomas, lived for 204 days with the heart donated from a fifteen-year-old girl. Texas physicians and scientists made numerous contributions to the field of human heart transplantation as it evolved from preliminary experimentation to an accepted orthodox therapy for patients with end-stage cardiac disease. Two Houston surgeons, Cooley and Michael E. DeBakey, have been in the forefront in developing heart surgery and heart transplantation; their rivalry was the subject of a book by journalist Tommy Thompson. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, a total of 26,704 heart transplantations had been reported worldwide by the mid-1990s, and 1,804 of these were performed in Texas. Worldwide, just over 3,000 heart transplants are performed each year. In 1994, 167 of these were in Texas.

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