Chitwood receives Russian surgical award
From left are Bakoulev Premium Award recipients Professor Alain Carpentier of France, Professor Vincent Dor of Monaco and Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr. Photo courtesy Bakoulev Center
(Oct. 17, 2011)
Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr. is one of five recipients this year of a prestigious international surgical award.
Chitwood, director of the East Carolina Heart Institute, professor of cardiovascular sciences and senior associate vice chancellor for health sciences at East Carolina University, received the Bakoulev Premium Medal from the Bakoulev Scientific Center for Cardiovascular Surgery and the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. He accepted the award Wednesday, Oct. 12, in Moscow.
Chitwood was recognized "for his outstanding contributions to the development of cardiac surgery (and) for new methods of minimally invasive procedures, including the use of robotics," according to the center. Other recipients were Naina Yeltsin, the widow of the first president of Russia, as well as Professors Alain Carpentier of France for pioneering cardiac valve surgery, Vincent Dor of Monaco for developing methods to remodel destroyed heart muscle, and Adib Jatene of Brazil for first correcting congenitally switched major heart vessels in babies.
The award was presented by Professor Leo Bokeria, director of the Bakoulev Center and fellow member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. Before the award ceremony, Chitwood planted a tree at the center to commemorate the occasion and his scientific contributions to Russia and the world.
The Bakoulev Award was established in 1998, and Chitwood is the second American recipient, following Dr. Denton Cooley of the Texas Heart Institute in 2010.
Chitwood is the Jo Allison and Eddie Smith Distinguished Chair at the ECHI. He is a past president of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the largest professional cardiac surgery society in the world. In 2001, he gave the Bourokovsky Lecture at the Bakoulev Center.
Chitwood has a bachelor's degree from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, a medical degree from the University of Virginia and completed his surgical residency at Duke University Medical Center. He came to ECU in 1984, where he started the cardiac surgery program. After a brief stint at the University of Kentucky, he returned to ECU in 1989 and served as chairman of the Department of Surgery from 1995-2003.
Chitwood is a pioneer in developing new technology for minimally invasive heart surgery. The ECU Robotic Surgical Center has trained hundreds of surgeons from around the world in the robotic surgical techniques. Chitwood also pioneered robotic valve repairs using the da Vinci system, and in 2000, used it to perform the first complete mitral valve repair in North America. He was the lead investigator of the FDA robotic mitral valve trials. Chitwood has special expertise in complex valve surgery including mitral repair as well as aortic valve and cardiac rhythm surgery.
The Bakoulev Center was founded in 1956 by Soviet surgeon Aleksandr Bakoulev as the Thoracic Surgery Institute of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR. In 1961, the facility was renamed to the Institute of Cardiovascular Surgery and renamed for Bakoulev in 1967 following his death.