Texas Children's team performs 10,000th procedure with bypass machine

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Anytime you hear the words 'open heart surgery,' it sounds pretty serious, but one local Houston doctor has been at it for years and recently hit a major millstone with one of his patients.

Dr. Charles Fraser is the surgeon-in-chief and chief of congenital heart surgery at Texas Children's. Recently, he and his team performed their 10,000th heart procedure with the heart lung bypass machine.

"The idea is simple. Take the blue blood out, the blood that doesn't have oxygen. Take it out of the patient, put it into an artificial lung. Give it oxygen. Take away the carbon dioxide. Give it pressure, return it back to the patient to support life," Dr. Fraser said.

While the idea may sound simple, the procedure and process is not. It's performed by a team of highly trained, highly skilled individuals called perfusionists.

Dr. Fraser said, "Doing it well allows us to do very complicated operations on children that would otherwise not be able to survive, so what they do is extraordinary."

Not only is the pump used in pediatric surgeries, but adults as well. Procedure number 10,000 was actually performed on 31-year-old Stephanie Granger.

"It just so happens that much of the expertise that's needed to take care of those patients, we have in a children's hospital," according to Dr. Fraser.

Granger was born with a congenital heart defect and had two surgeries as a baby and one at six years old. Years later, she developed secondary problems.

"I started having some abdomen pain and my primary doctor, they ran a CT scan and found there was a problem with my liver due to my heart," Granger said.

Ironically enough, she wound up scheduling two heart surgeries -- one for her and one for her newly adopted daughter, Zoey.

Granger said, "Wen we adopted her, we told them we were open to various conditions. We told them we had a family history of congenital heart, and that we fully understood it."

Zoey was born with a similar congenital heart defect and needed surgery as well.

"I was discharged, and the next day, she went in for surgery," Grainger said.

Several months since the surgery, both mom and daughter are doing quite well.
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.