HOUSTON (August 17, 2010)

Medical professionals standing with balloonsAt a time when many cardiovascular programs across the country have experienced a downturn, the Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital Heart Center has reported steady growth for each of the last five years.

"Among the keys to our success are our medical directors - cardiologist Domingo Gonzalez, M.D., and cardiovascular surgeon Michael Macris, MD," said Gary Kerr, CEO of Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital. "The synergy between the two disciplines has created a safe place for our patients to heal."

This month, the hospital celebrated 500 Hearts, or 500 cardiovascular surgeries in five years. "I like to think of it as 500 people whose lives were dramatically improved by having access to high-quality cardiovascular care close to home," Dr. Macris said. "As we approached the 500 mark, we've affected enough lives to get out-of-town word-of-mouth referrals. In fact, 15 to 20 percent of patients come to us from other communities, many from cities across Texas and around the country."

Over the last five years, board-certified cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons affiliated with the Heart Center have performed more than 3,900 procedures.

"Because our experience is diverse, our patients have multiple treatment options, resulting in excellent outcomes as indicated by risk-adjusted mortality," Kerr added.

The Heart Center was recently designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care® by Blue Cross Blue Shield. Blue Distinction Centers for Cardiac Care demonstrate their commitment to quality care, resulting in better overall outcomes for cardiac patients. To receive the designation, Memorial Hermann Northwest had to meet evidence-based clinical criteria developed in collaboration with expert physicians and medical organizations, including the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), and is subject to periodic re-evaluation as criteria continue to evolve. Additionally, The Center's outstanding performance from 2005 to 2009 contributed to Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital's recognition among HealthGrades 50 Best Hospitals in 2010.