The History of
the Texas Arrhythmia Institute
The Texas Arrhythmia Institute was established in 1994 by Antonio Pacifico, M.D., a leading expert in Cardiac Electrophysiology. Dr. Pacifico led the way toward improving understanding and treating cardiac arrhythmia. The foundation's participation in clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health as well as corporate-sponsored trials with antiarrhythmic drugs and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) helped establish effective regimens to control arrhythmias and prolong the lives of people with heart disease. In conjunction with private industry and government agencies, the Texas Arrhythmia Institute has been involved in the development and testing of new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. One project with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) explored microwave energy to destroy parts of the heart responsible for arrhythmias.
After the death of Dr. Pacifico in 2005, an initiative was undertaken to honor his work in the field of cardiac arrhythmias. The Texas Arrhythmia Institute donated over 350 automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) to ever school in the Houston Independent and Spring Branch districts and 20 additional AEDs to Rice University in Houston. This was a major step in promoting awareness in our community and ensuring the safety of its residents and provided an impetus to the Texas Legislature to soon thereafter require AEDs in schools. The natural follow-up to this initiative was to ensure that these vital devices not only were available but were also used by bystanders who knew what to do. In partnership with other non-profits, plans for a city-wide mass training in CPR and AED were developed. The first Save A Life Community Heart Training Day was held on September 27, 2008 (exactly two weeks after Hurricane Ike); and even under those circumstances, more than 577 individuals were trained and certified in CPR and AED usage.