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Misc. News : Non-food Things Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Pioneering heart surgeon dies at 99
By Sue Mueller
Jul 14, 2008 - 4:39:01 AM

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Michael Debakey. Credit: wikipedia
Pioneering heart surgeon dies at 99

Monday July 14, 2008 ( -- World renowned heart surgeon Michael E. DeBakey, the father of modern cardiovascular surgery, died on July 11 of natural causes at the Methodist Hospital in Houston.   He was 99.

He is survived by his second wife, Katrin and their daughter Olga and two sons Michael and Dennis from his first marriage.

Debakey was born Michel Dabaghi on September 7, 1908 in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Lebanese immigrants Shaker and Raheeja DeBakey.

He served as the chancellor emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and director of The DeBakey Heart Center of Baylor and the Methodist Hospital.

One of his significant contributions is that he pioneered the use of Dacron grafts to replace or repair blood vessels.

In 1958, DeBakey performed the first successful patch-graft angioplasty, a maneuver that counteracts narrowing of an artery caused by an endarterectomy, according to

This procedure patched the slit in the artery from an endarterectomy with a Dacron or vein graft. The patch widened the artery in a way that when it closed the channel of the artery returned to normal size. The artificial graft is now being used around the world to replace or repair blood vessels.

Dr. DeBakey had performed more than 60,000 operations and stopped performing surgery at 90. He trained thousands of surgeons who now lead hospital and medical school departments.

Debakey himself suffered a dissecting aortic aneurysm on Dec. 31, 2005a and became the oldest survivor of a procedure he devised to repair torn aortas.   And his first wife, Diana Cooper DeBakey, died of a heart attack in 1972.

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