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Affiliation with Covenant Heart and Vascular Institute
in North Texas

 Unique affiliation agreement will create more opportunities for collaboration and research in the fight against cardiovascular disease 

Houston, Texas (January 16, 2012) – Officials at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital (SLEH) have signed a unique affiliation agreement with Covenant Heart and Vascular Institute (CHVI) in Lubbock that will create more opportunities for collaboration and research in the fight against cardiovascular disease.

Details of the agreement, described as the "first of its kind" for either institution, were announced at a signing ceremony in Lubbock, in North Texas, January 13.

The two-year agreement, with options for renewal, allows for the transition and coordination of patient care with THI from CHVI for patients with complex thoraco-abdominal aortic aneurysms, patients in need of ventricular assist devices (heart pumps), and patients in need of heart and lung transplants. The accord also provides opportunities for specialists from THI to promote educational programs at Covenant as well as patient participation in THI clinical research trials. Physicians at Covenant, some of whom received their medical training at THI, also can observe new procedures at THI and participate in on-site educational programs.

THI and its clinical partner, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, have performed more than 100,000 open heart procedures, 200,000 cardiac catheterization procedures and 1,400 heart transplants, more than any other hospital in the nation. THI at SLEH has been ranked among the top 10 heart centers in the nation (currently ranked No. 4) by U.S. News & World Report for 21 consecutive years.

"Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 medical killer of Texans, and it knows no geographic boundaries," said Dr. James T. Willerson, THI's President and Medical Director. "There's no reason why our research and state-of-the-art treatments should either. Together, we are in a better position to serve Texas and continue to improve care and cutting-edge treatments."

"We see the affiliation agreement as an opportunity to collaborate with other world-class physicians, which will in turn directly benefit our patients," said Dr. Robert Salem, CHVI's chief medical officer emeritus.

Dr. Salem first broached the idea of affiliation in 2010 with Dr. Denton A. Cooley, founder and President Emeritus of THI.

Covenant Health System is the largest health care institution in the Lubbock region with 1,033 licensed beds, more than 4,500 employees and a medical staff of more than 600 physicians at its cornerstone facilities.  

Covenant is a member of St. Joseph Health System based in Orange, Calif., and serves a 62-county area spanning West Texas and eastern New Mexico, with a population in excess of 1.2 million. Cornerstone hospitals are Covenant Medical Center, Covenant Women's and Children's and Covenant Specialty Hospital, Covenant Hospital Levelland and Covenant Hospital Plainview. The Covenant Heart and Vascular Institute (CHVI), one of the first cardiac care units in Texas, was established in 1965. Since opening its doors, CHVI has been providing world-class heart care for the people of the region. 

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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