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Texas Heart Institute Physician & Scientist William E. ‘Billy’ Cohn
Named 2013 Edison Awards Finalist for Innovative Surgical Invention

HOUSTON, TEXAS (February 14, 2013) - Dr. WilliamDr. William E. “Billy” Cohn, director of minimally invasive surgical technology at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital (SLEH), has been named a 2013 Award Finalist by the internationally renowned Edison Awards™.

Dr. Cohn’s SentreHEART LARIAT Suture Delivery Device is a finalist in the Science/Medical Surgical Aids category, one of 12 categories honored by the Edison Awards. The distinguished awards symbolize the persistence and excellence personified by Thomas Alva Edison, inspiring creative minds to remain in the forefront of innovation, creativity and ingenuity in the global economy.

The LARIAT Suture Delivery Device, invented by Dr. Cohn, allows surgeons to tie off the left atrial appendage (LAA) via a catheter without the need for open-heart surgery. Tying off the LAA is thought to be of value in some patients with atrial fibrillation, especially those who cannot take blood thinners.  The procedure is performed in the cardiology catheterization lab under X-ray guidance and requires no incision. The LARIAT was cleared by the FDA for use in 2009 and is also approved in Europe.

LARIAT device invented by Dr. Billy Cohn.

“I am very excited and humbled to be an Edison finalist,” said Dr. Cohn. “Nonsurgical options (performed percutaneously) generally mean less discomfort, and more rapid recovery for patients, as well as the potential  to decrease cost in the health-care system. To have the LARIAT recognized for its innovation is a high honor.”

“We are very proud of Dr. Cohn’s having achieved this honor,” added Dr. James T. Willerson, THI’s President and Medical Director. “His ingenuity is exceeded only by his passion for helping patients.”

“More than any year, this year's slate of Finalists demonstrate the enormous value of teamwork, experimentation, consumer focus, market awareness and game-changing success,” said Frank Bonafilia, Edison Awards’ executive director. “It’s exciting to see entities like the Texas Heart Institute continuing Thomas Edison’s legacy of challenging conventional thinking.”

The ballot of nominees for the Edison Awards is judged by more than 3,000 senior business executives and academics from across the nation whose votes acknowledge the Finalists’ success in meeting the award criteria of Concept, Value, Delivery and Impact. The Panel includes members of the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), the American Association Advertising Agencies (4As) the Chief Marketing Officer Council (CMO), the Design Management Institute (DMI), the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Association of Technology Management & Applied Engineering (ATMAE). Also on the Panel are hundreds of past Edison Award winners, marketing professionals, scientists, designers, engineers and academics.

A full list of the finalists can be found here Award winners will be announced April 25, 2013, at the Edison Awards Annual Gala, held in the Grand Ballroom at historic Navy Pier in Chicago, IL.

The Edison Awards is a program conducted by Edison Universe, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to fostering future innovators. The 2013 Edison Awards are sponsored by Nielsen, Discovery Communications, Science Channel, and USA Today. For more information about the Edison Awards, Edison Universe and a list of past winners, visit

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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