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Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital

Remains Among America's Top 10 Heart Centers

Fourth Place Marks 21st Consecutive Year of Top Rankings

Houston, Texas (July 19, 2011) – The Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital (THI at SLEH) has once again been named one of the top 10 heart centers in the nation in the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings announced today. THI was named No. 4 for the second year in a row. 

U.S.News & World Report Top 10 for 21st Consecutive YearTHI has been ranked in the top 10 every year since the prestigious rankings began in 1991. 

"These rankings reflect real quality care and real people whose lives have been affected for the better by the hard work, dedication, and medical advances of our doctors, scientists and others. We're very proud of them all," said THI President and Medical Director James T. Willerson, MD. "Heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of people in this country and we won't settle for anything less than excellence as we continue to battle against it."

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 heavily funded heart centers.

"To see us ranked so highly, so consistently, gives me tremendous personal satisfaction," said Dr. Denton A. Cooley, THI's founder and President Emeritus. "This is testimony to THI's commitment to saving and improving lives and always improving how we do that."

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 almost 5,000 hospitals, engaged in physician surveys and considered patient outcomes, then recognized 720 hospitals. The rankings cover 16 medical specialties and all 94 U.S. metro areas that have at least 500,000 residents and at least one hospital that performed well enough to be ranked.

Unlike other rankings and reports, U.S. News 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.
SLEH has also placed among the nation's leading hospitals in Diabetes & Endocrinology; Ear, Nose & Throat; Gastroenterology; Geriatrics; and Urology.

For more information about the rankings, visit USNews online at   

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

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

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