Dr. Joel D. Cooper

Dr. Joel Cooper is a doctor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His expertise is in thoracic surgery, which can be helpful for pleural mesothelioma patients undergoing treatment.

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Dr. Joel Cooper specializes in lung treatments. He has participated in research for lung transplants, double-lung transplants, lung ventilation and other extensive lung procedures. His extensive experience with treatments for cancers of the lungs may benefit those with pleural mesothelioma.

Pleural mesothelioma patients often undergo lung surgery to remove cancer and/or help improve symptoms. Dr. Cooper is widely recognized for his expertise in various lung procedures.

Dr. Cooper’s Professional History

After participating in the 44th failed lung transplant, Dr. Cooper began to study the reason behind the failures. He worked with colleagues to determine prednisone (an immunosuppressant) was interfering with the healing process.

Dr. Cooper and his team completed the first successful lung transplant in 1983. In 1986 and 1987, he directed the first successful double-lung transplants.

As a well-known thoracic surgeon, Dr. Cooper was also involved in other important developments for thoracic surgery, including:

  • He directed the bilateral sequential single-lung transplantation procedure
  • He helped develop low potassium dextran solution with glucose (LPDG), which is a lung preservation solution

The first is used to treat cystic fibrosis, emphysema and pulmonary hypertension. Scandinavian researchers further developed LPDG, which was later sold as the commercial drug, Perfadex®️.

Throughout his professional career, Dr. Cooper has also held several prominent positions. Before his current position in Pennsylvania, he served as:

  • The head of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Toronto General Hospital
  • The chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Washington University

Dr. Cooper’s work and experience have helped patients with a number of conditions. Pleural mesothelioma patients may receive treatment from a thoracic surgeon such as Dr. Cooper. Some patients may undergo an extrapleural pneumonectomy, which removes the affected lungs. They may also undergo pleurodesis or pleurocentesis to reduce excess fluid on the lungs. Thoracic specialists, such as Dr. Cooper, help develop and perfect these treatment options.

Clinical Interests and Research

Dr. Cooper specializes in lung treatments. He currently serves as Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania after serving as chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery. The University of Pennsylvania’s cancer center, Abramson Cancer Center, is a prominent mesothelioma treatment center.

Dr. Cooper‘s Medical Areas of Interest
  • Airway management
  • Lung cancer
  • Lung transplantation
  • Lung volume reduction surgery
  • Lung ventilation
  • Thoracic surgery
  • Pleural mesothelioma

Dr. Cooper’s specialties center around the lungs. He has studied conditions that affect the lungs and how to treat them. His research spans across lung transplants, airway obstructions, cancers impacting the lungs and much more.

Pleural mesothelioma patients often battle shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and chest pain. This can result from tumors or fluid buildup putting pressure on the lungs. Thoracic procedures can help improve symptoms and quality of life for mesothelioma patients.

Selected Publications

A prospective evaluation of lung volume reduction surgery in 200 consecutive patients. Chest. April 2003;123(4):1026-1037. doi: 10.1378/chest.123.4.1026

Comparison of open subxiphoid pericardial drainage with percutaneous catheter drainage for symptomatic pericardial effusion. The Annals of Thoracic Surgery. September 2003;76(3):811-815. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(03)00665-9

Inside the operating room–balancing the risks and benefits of new surgical procedures: a collection of perspectives and panel discussion. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. November 2008;75(6):S49-S54.

Small airways pathology in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: a retrospective cohort study. The Lancet: Respiratory Medicine. June 2020;8(6):573-584. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(19)30356-X

Dr. Cooper’s Accolades

Two of Dr. Cooper’s largest successes in his medical career were completing the first successful lung transplant and the first successful double-lung transplant. In addition to this groundbreaking accomplishment, Dr. Cooper has received several other forms of recognition.

  • CMS Stage 1 EHR (2012, 2013) – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • IOM Elected Member (2007) – Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Medicine)
  • ACS Fellow – American Chemical Society
  • Who’s Who – The American Thoracic Society
  • FACS (Fellow) – American College of Surgeons