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News Updates from the Texas Heart Institute

Texas Heart Institute Recognized for National Excellence

Houston, Texas (January 21, 2010) – The Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital (SLEH) has been named by Worth magazine as among the top 25 centers in the nation for coronary artery bypass surgery. The recognition follows an earlier designation by AARP The Magazine and the nonprofit Consumers' Checkbook, of THI as one of the top 9 heart centers in the country. The ranking is based on a Consumers' Checkbook collection of 140,000 hospital ratings and its national survey of doctors about "where they were most likely to send patients with extremely difficult cases" (see and

Worth, citing the high incidence of coronary artery disease among American men and women, asked health-care research firm Castle Connolly to identify the best hospitals nationwide for coronary bypass surgery, the most common procedure performed as a result of heart disease.

James T. Willerson, president and medical director of Texas Heart Institute
James T. Willerson, MD

"We work very hard to be the best and consistently make a difference in our patients’ lives," said Dr. James T. Willerson, president and medical director of THI. "It’s nice to see so many others recognize that this is a place of excellence where patients can get the kind of help they need."

The Worth report also highlighted the work of Dr. O. H. Frazier, who "has implanted about 1,100 vascular-assist devices, making him the world’s most practiced surgeon in performing this procedure—the top treatment for patients with heart failure who are too ill to wait for a donor heart."

The non-profit THI, which had the first successful heart transplant in the U.S. and the world’s first implantation of an artificial heart, is a global leader in developing, testing and application of heart assist devices. THI is operating under a number of grants from the National Institutes of Health to develop a total artificial heart. In addition, THI played a significant role in clinical studies leading to FDA approval of the HeartMate II left-ventricular assist device as a bridge-to-transplantation therapy.

The Worth report can be found at

About Castle Connolly Medical

Castle Connolly Medical is a healthcare research and information company founded in 1991 by a former medical college board chairman and president to help guide consumers to America's top doctors and hospitals. Castle Connolly's physician-led research department's selection of these 25 hospitals was based on factors such as the number of affiliated doctors in thoracic surgery selected as Castle Connolly Top Doctors, and various state and national "outcome" measures and quality rankings of medical centers and hospitals for coronary artery bypass surgery. In no way does Castle Connolly intend this listing to infer, imply or be construed as an indication that these are the only outstanding hospitals for this surgery; many other excellent hospitals of national and regional reputation are also available for this surgery, and consumers should always discuss their medical decisions with their own personal physician.

For media inquiries please contact:
Texas Heart Institute
Frank Michel  ♦  713-218-2210

For THI and St. Luke's media profiles, see Public Affairs.

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