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This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

Michael E. DeBakey: The pioneer of arterial bypass surgery and artificial heart and ventricular-assist devices passed away July 11 at the age of 99 and was laid to rest in Houston July 16. Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., who was chancellor emeritus at Baylor College of Medicine, is credited as the first to recognize that arteriosclerosis typically causes discrete, localized damage to the artery that can be treated surgically with excision and grafting. In 1952, he was the first in the U.S. to successfully perform such a procedure to treat an aortic aneurysm. The following year, he performed the first carotid endarterectomy. DeBakey was also the first to use grafts made of synthetic Dacron material, still used today both for open-heart and endovascular stent-graft aneurysm procedures. In the 1960s, he researched artificial hearts and performed the first successful human implantation of a left ventricular assist device. The DeBakey LVAD, developed by DeBakey in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is in a bridge-to-transplant FDA clinical trial sponsored by Houston-based MicroMed, and a pediatric version is marketed in the United States under a humanitarian device exemption
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