Heart Timeline

Oct. 25, 1942   Saint John’s Health Center opens in Santa Monica, CA
1950s   UCLA Medical School comes to Saint John’s for its animal research
1951   Drs. Francis Dammann, Rodney Smith and William Muller, Jr. develop the technique of pulmonary banding for the treatment of several types of congenital heart disease
1953   Sonny Burke’s son, Michael, dies during minor surgery leading to the formation of the Michael Burke Foundation and the start of the Voices of Christmas broadcast at Saint John’s, which featured stars such as Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Danny Thomas and Nat King Cole; the broadcast, as well as other work done by the foundation, raises countless dollars for Saint John’s and its cardiac program
June 5, 1956   North Wing opens at Saint John’s with the Cardiac Clinic inside
June 4, 1957   Drs. Rodney Smith and James McEachen use a local-made pacer to save the life of a man whose heart stopped 36 times
Nov. 20, 1958   Drs. Jack Cannon, Albert Kattus and William Longmire develop first coronary surgery, known as endarterectomy
1959   Under research grants provided by the Michael Burke Foundation and Valley Heart Foundation, Drs. Rodney Smith and James McEachen build the first heart-lung machine and perform the first congenital heart surgery with the use of CP-bypass
1961   Dr. Rodney Smith, under the direction of Dr. James McEachen, performs the world’s first coronary artery bypass using saphenous vein
1962   Coronary angiography introduced at Saint John’s with the new catheterization laboratory
1967   Saint John’s opens the first Critical Care Unit (CCU) west of the Mississippi
1976   Dr. Stephen Berens becomes the director of the Cardiology Department and the Coronary Intensive Care Unit, and in the eight years that follow, he establishes and expands the Ecocardiology Program, redesigns the Ambulatory Electro Cardiology (EKG) Program and two cardiac catheterization laboratories, starts the Cardiac Rehabilitation and Wellness Program and forms the Pacer Clinic at Saint John’s; these activities lead to the complete updating of the Emergency Department to become a Class 1 Cardiac Receiving Unit
1978   The Michael Burke Foundation provides funding for the new 2-D Sector Scanner (the first two-dimensional echocardiogram)
1979   Carotid duplex scanner and advanced Holter monitoring ambulatory EKG come to Saint John’s
1979   Saint John’s ER is certified as a First-Hour Heart Station
1979-1980   Intracoronary thrombolysis is introduced to Saint John’s
1980s   Saint John’s Nuclear Medicine adds thallium 2001 scanning and gated blood pool scanning technology
Feb. 1981   Dr. Howard Cohen does the first PTCA and first PTCA treatment of an acute myocardial infraction at Saint John’s
1984   New Critical Care Unit opens at Saint John’s with a special area for postoperative open-heart patients
April 30, 1984   First automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillator (AICD) implanted in a patient at Saint John’s
1985   MRI scanning becomes available at Saint John’s
June 24, 1986   Opening of the Heart Institute (now the Heart Center) at Saint John’s
1987   Dr. John Michael Criley becomes first medical director of the Heart Institute
1987   Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) team formed by Drs. Steven Berens, Robert Merz, Richard Taw, Shelly Shapiro and Richard Wright
1987   Drs. Howard Cohen, Nicolas Diaco and Peter Pelikan introduce cardiac valvuloplasty to Saint John’s
1988   Two new catheterization laboratories open at Saint John’s
1988   Post Critical Care Unit (PCCU) opens at Saint John’s
1990   Groundbreaking for Saint John’s Cardiovascular Research Center on UCLA-Harbor Campus (opens in 1991)
1990   Drs. Howard Cohen and Peter Pelikan research the use of excimer laser for the treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD)
1991   Dr. Bruce Brundage pioneers the use of ultra fast CAT scanning for CAD at Saint John’s Cardiovascular Research Center at the UCLA-Harbor Campus
Dec. 1991   Saint John’s does its first directional atherectomy
Jan. 1995   Saint John’s does its first bare metal stenting
May 1995   Saint John’s does its first rotational atherectomy
March 19, 1997   Drs. John M. Robertson and Randas Batista perform first Batista operation in Los Angeles at Saint John’s
Oct. 31, 1997   Under Dr. John M. Robertson, Saint John’s is one of 17 centers in the U.S. to start FDA trials for the ATS heart valve study
May 2002   Saint John’s does its first coronary brachytherapy
May 2003   Saint John’s does its first drug eluting stenting
Jan. 2005   Saint John’s becomes one of the first hospitals on the west coast to perform epicardial ablation for ventricular tachycardia in the EP laboratory
Nov. 2006   Dr. Shephal K. Doshi does the first U.S. case of laser balloon ablation in North America in the “enable” protocol at Saint John’s
Jan. 2007   Dr. Shephal K. Doshi does the first left atrial appendage (LAA) occlusion procedure with a Watchman device at Saint John’s
Dec. 2008   Saint John’s named a Center of Excellence for its new state-of-the-art Reliant® Hemodynamic Monitoring System
August 2009   Dr. Shephal K. Doshi is the first in the entire nation to perform an innovative nonsurgical procedure using sutures to tie off the left atrial appendage (LAA) called a LARIAT epicardial left atrial appendage exclusion procedure, which precludes the need for open-heart surgery
Jan. 2010   The New Saint John’s opens and the Heart Center moves into the new building and four new catheterization laboratories are opened
Jan. 2010   Saint John’s became the first hospital in the region to use the latest 3-D mapping technology, a combination of electromagnetic and current based technology called Carto 3, to treat cardiac rhythm disturbances and becomes a national and international training center for complex ablation
Jan. 2010   Saint John’s becomes the only hospital on the west coast to use endoscopic laser balloon ablation of atrial fibrillation
Oct. 2010   Saint John’s is one of the first hospitals in the nation to implant a completely leadless subcutaneous ICD
2011   UCLA’s Curtis Hunter, MD, partners with Saint John’s Heart Center as a part of a combined team that includes John M. Robertson, MD, director of cardiovascular surgery at Saint John’s, to provide heart surgery to patients in Santa Monica and other West Los Angeles communities
Jan. 10, 2011   First neuro interventrical vascular cardiologic procedure is performed at Saint John’s by Dr. George Teitelbaum