Our History

The East Carolina Heart Institute was the vision of Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood, Jr., associate vice chancellor for health sciences at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and the director of the East Carolina Heart Institute. When ECHI's creation was announced in 2004, ECU and Vidant Medical Center promised "a new approach that will offer one center of excellence for innovations in cardiovascular disease research, treatment, prevention, and education."

As part of the overall vision, the Robotic Surgery Center for Training and Education was established in 2002 under the direction of cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. L. Wiley Nifong. Currently, the Robotic Surgery Center is a lead institution in a national, multi-center clinical trial using the da Vinci® Si Surgical System for robot-assisted mitral valve repair. In the past fourteen years, this center has trained over 850 surgical teams from around the world in robotic procedures.

Officially opening its doors in 2009, the building standing on ECU's Health Sciences Campus and six-story hospital tower at Vidant Medical Center are working to provide life-saving cardiovascular care to the patients of eastern North Carolina. By completely reinventing the manner with which cardiovascular disease is perceived and treated, the East Carolina Heart Institute has created a working model for what one day could become a nationwide shift in the way health care, across all disease processes, is delivered.

ECHI State of the Heart

The East Carolina Heart Institute is dedicated
exclusively to cardiovascular care.