Dr. Kessler is the Director of the Cardiac Transplantation and Circulatory Support program at Seton Medical Center which he has been a part of for over fifteen years. He has served in the past as the Co-director of the Transplant Program and the Director of Mechanical Circulatory Support and presently serves as the Surgical Director of the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) program. Development of programs to treat advanced heart failure continues to be his main focus.
An extremely diverse interest in advanced cardiac surgery includes: cardiac transplantation, implantation of left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), complex mechanical circulatory support and transport strategies, surgery for congestive heart failure, adult congenital heart surgery, aortic root surgery, complex valve replacement and repair, coronary revascularization procedures, arrhythmia surgery and surgical electrophysiologic procedures including minimally invasive lead placement. Dr. Kessler is interested in minimally invasive techniques of valve replacement and is a surgical director of TAVR, or transcatheter aortic valve replacement, which includes transfemoral, transapical and transaortic approaches to the aortic valve. He is also the Principal Investigator of the Perceval S Trial, an evaluation of a sutureless aortic valve now in trials in the United States.
Investigation of improvement in outcomes for mechanical circulatory support facilitated the implementation of advanced analysis of coagulation abnormalities in central Texas, in which Dr. Kessler was a key figure. He lectures frequently on the use of Thromboelastography and platelet mapping, which has led to a dramatic decrease in the blood transfusion usage in Austin, Texas.
In 2002, Dr. Kessler was awarded the prestigious Cardiac Care Provider of the Year Award. Nominated by his patients, the annual award is given by the American Heart Association. Dr. Kessler was again recognized in 2013, by Texas monthly as one of Texas Monthly’s Top Doctors. He was nominated by operating room staff for the 2014 best operating surgeon, and has been the recipient of the prestigious Carnegie Hero Award which is awarded to those who risk their own life to save another’s.
He is an active member of Alpha Omega Alpha, the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation, the Texas Transplant Society, the Parkland Surgical Society, American Medical Association, Texas Medical Association and Travis County Medical Society. Dr. Kessler remains involved in clinical research and lectures frequently on topics of complex cardiac surgery.