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News Updates from the Texas Heart Institute

Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital
Moves Up in National Heart Center Rankings to No. 4
U.S.News & World Report Top 10 for 20th Consecutive Year

2010-11 U. S. News & World Report - America's Best Hospitals

Houston, Texas (July 15, 2010) – The Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital (THI at SLEH) has been ranked among the top 10 centers in the nation for heart and heart surgery for the 20th consecutive year, it was announced today. 

In its annual ranking of "America's Best Hospitals," U.S.News & World Report has ranked THI at SLEH number four (4) — compared to number five (5) a year ago. 

"We are more than gratified by the ranking and the consistent excellence it represents," said THI President and Medical Director James T. Willerson, MD. "It reflects two decades of dedication and hard work by our doctors, scientists, nurses and other staff. We also are grateful to the governing boards of THI and St. Luke's and our supporters. Most of all, this reflects the life-saving and life-changing advances we have been able to put forward in the battle to cure heart and vascular disease."

The Texas Heart Institute (, founded by world-renowned cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Denton A. Cooley in 1962, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the devastating toll of cardiovascular disease through innovative and progressive programs in research, education and improved patient care. THI at SLEH consistently ranks high despite being in competition with much larger, more highly endowed and funded heart centers.

“The progress made by THI in these comparative evaluations give me enormous satisfaction,” said Dr. Cooley, THI President Emeritus. “To see us ranked ahead of larger traditional institutions is some of the best evidence of our vigorous efforts to advance research, education and patient care.”

 Celebrating the 20th consecutive year ranked as a top ten heart center.
Celebrating the event: Dr. James T. Willerson, President of THI; Eugene A. Cernan, astronaut and member of THI's National Advisory Council; Dr. Denton A. Cooley, founder and president emeritus of THI; and Margaret M. Van Bree, DrPH, CEO of St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital.

The annual rankings, determined through criteria such as surgical volume, ratio of registered nurses to beds, number of medical and surgical discharges and recognition by peers, are designed to assist people in seeking the highest level of skill in diagnosing, treating or managing difficult medical conditions. U.S.News evaluated data from 4,852 hospitals, of which only 152 met the standard of being among the best in one or more specialties. The magazine evaluated data, engaged in physician surveys and considered patient outcomes, then recognized the 50 top-scoring hospitals in each category it reviewed.

Unlike other rankings and reports, the U.S.News & World Report looks at how well centers do in complex and demanding situations. The recognized centers fit a certain mold. They are often referral centers because their physicians see sicker patients and do higher volumes of difficult procedures. They follow and often propose advanced treatment guidelines. They conduct research that migrates from the labs and computer databases to the bedside. Also, they take advantage of improvements in imaging, surgical devices and other technologies.
It should also be noted that THI at SLEH is the only heart center in Houston and the Southwest to be listed in the top 10 by the magazine. St. Luke’s also placed among the nation’s leading hospitals in Gastroenterology, Geriatrics, Kidney Disorders and Urology.

For more information about the rankings, visit USNews online at   

For media inquiries please contact:
Texas Heart Institute
Frank Michel  ♦  713-218-2210 or 832-355-9246

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

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