O.H. Bud Frazier, MD (2018 Keynote)

O.H. Bud Frazier, MDO.H. Frazier, M.D., is chief of Cardiopulmonary Transplantation, program director and chief of the Center for Cardiac Support, and director of Cardiovascular Surgery Research at the Texas Heart Institute. He is also chief of the Transplant Service at CHI Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center. His academic appointments include professor of Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, clinical professor of Surgery at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and tenured professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. For more than 30 years, Dr. Frazier has been a pioneer in the treatment of severe heart failure and in the fields of heart transplantation and artificial devices that may be used either to substitute for or to assist the pumping action of the human heart. As a result of his work, THI has become one of the top transplantation and mechanical circulatory support programs in the world. Dr. Frazier has performed over 1,300 heart transplants and implanted more than 1,000 left ventricular assist devices, more than any other surgeon in the world.

Dr. Frazier graduated from the University of Texas-Austin and received his medical degree at Baylor College of Medicine, where he received the DeBakey Award for Outstanding Surgical Student. He served in the Army between 1968 and 1970 and distinguished himself as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Army 48th Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam. He received the Combat Flight Medal, the Vietnamese Navy Medal, and the Vietnamese Distinguished Service Medal. After his military service, he returned to Houston and completed his specialty training in general surgery under Dr. Michael E. DeBakey at Baylor Affiliated Hospitals and a residency in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery under Dr. Denton A. Cooley at the Texas Heart Institute.

Dr. Frazier’s interest in mechanical circulatory support began in 1969, when, as a student at Baylor College of Medicine, he wrote a research paper about the experimental total artificial heart, which was first implanted in 1969 by Dr. Denton Cooley. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Dr. Frazier continued experimental work toward developing an implantable left ventricular assist device (LVAD). Among his “firsts”, in 1986, Dr. Frazier performed the first implantation of such a device, the HeartMate I, in a human. His seminal work in the field of LVADs continued with experimental studies that resulted in the first intravascular, implantable continuous flow LVAD (Hemopump), which he first implanted in a human in April 1988. After more than 10 years of research, in 2000, he performed the first human implantation of the Jarvik 2000 LVAD (also a continuous flow pump). In November 2003, he implanted the first HeartMate II LVAD in a patient. In 2011, Dr. Frazier implanted the first successful continuous-flow total artificial heart, using two ventricular assist devices working in tandem to replace the patient’s failing heart. More significantly, Dr. Frazier’s pioneering work in the field of circulatory support has resulted in more than 40,000 LVADs being implanted in patients worldwide as a life-saving effort; the design of most of these devices having been conceived and/or developed in Dr. Frazier’s THI laboratory. Dr. Frazier’s work continues as his goal of a meaningful and practical total artificial heart replacement is on the horizon.

Dr. Frazier has received numerous honors, including the Living Legend Award from the World Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons, the Gift to Mankind Award from the American Organ Transplant Association, the Distinguished Surgeon Award from the Houston Surgical Society, Honored Physician Award from the American Heart Association Guild, the Ray C. Fish Award for Scientific Achievement from the Texas Heart Institute, the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society International Recognition Award, the Kauffman Heart Failure Award of Merit from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and the Dr. Barney Clark Award from the Medforte Research Foundation in recognition of his pioneering efforts in the clinical advancement of cardiac transplantation and of mechanical circulatory support and replacement devices.