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Dr. Blase A. Carabello to Head New Center for Heart Valve Disease

HOUSTON, TX. (March 9, 2011) –  The Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital announced today the appointment of Dr. Blase A. Carabello as Director of its new Center for Heart Valve Disease. Carabello is also being proposed as Chief of Cardiology for THI, subject to board approval.  

"Dr. Carabello is one of the world's foremost experts on valvular heart disease, a serious and growing problem, and is the perfect person to lead this center and to aggressively attack it with more research, education and improved treatments," said THI President and Medical Director, James T. Willerson, MD. "The time and the mission are right and Dr. Carabello is respected by everyone. This is a major step forward."  

 Dr. James T. Willerson (right) welcomes Dr. Blase A. Carabello.

Dr. James T. Willerson (right) welcomes
Dr. Blase A. Carabello to the Texas Heart Institute.

Dr. Carabello currently serves as Chief of Medicine at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Administration Medical Center. He will continue to work with the VA in collaboration on programs, research and care.  

"Being part of this THI team is an honor and a unique opportunity," said Dr. Carabello. "Cardiologists and surgeons, in close collaboration, will be looking for new, more effective ways of treating and hopefully greatly lessening the impact of valvular heart disease. The chance to work on that mission with the distinguished physicians and others at THI, the Baylor College of Medicine, the Veterans Administration Medical Center, and their affiliates is very gratifying."  

Valvular heart disease is often seen as an affliction of the elderly and experts anticipate that as the general population ages, including millions of Baby Boomers, and people are living longer, the prevalence and costs of treating these afflictions will significantly rise. The disease, however, can afflict people at any age, and is sometimes congenital. In addition, researchers worry that the disease often goes undiagnosed and that incidence rates might even be higher than reported.

A study recently presented to the American Heart Association looked at patients in New York State and found that the incidences of hospitalization and treatment for heart valve disease have "progressively and constantly risen since the early 1980s," increasing at a rate of almost 10% per year.  

The new Center for Heart Valve Disease will focus on all aspects of valvular heart disease, including improved replacement procedures with less invasive technology and the use of adult stem cell therapy.  

Dr. Carabello is also Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine. He is a native of Pennsylvania and a graduate of Gettysburg College. He received his medical degree Cum Laude in 1973 from Temple University in Philadelphia and completed his internal medicine residency and cardiology fellowship at Harvard Medical School. He has served as president of the Society for Heart Valve Disease and of the Association of University Cardiologists. Since 2001, he also has served on the Cardio/Renal Advisory Committee for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In addition, he served as an author of the 1998 and 2006 American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Guidelines for the Management of Patients With Valvular Disease.  

Dr. Carabello is also a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He has published more than 350 peer-reviewed and invited publications and is the recipient of numerous teaching and professional awards, including the 2009 Distinguished Scientist Award from the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the group's most prestigious scientific award.

For media inquiries please contact:
Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital
Frank Michel  ♦  832-355-9510  ♦  Email:

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

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