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ECU surgeon elected president of Society of Thoracic Surgeons

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Jan. 31, 2008)   —   Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr. was elected president of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons during the group's 44th annual meeting Jan. 27-29 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Chitwood is senior associate vice chancellor for health sciences at East Carolina University and founding director of the East Carolina Heart Institute.

During his term, Chitwood plans to take a more active role in international cardiothoracic surgery issues, work on government policy issues, develop additional clinical guidelines and increase efforts to better foster upcoming generations of cardiothoracic surgeons.

"We need to utilize new technology and the impact it has in patient care to increase the interest surgeons have in our specialty," Chitwood said. "It will also be important in the coming year to think about how we can blend our influence in areas of public policy and new technology with other professional organizations."

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 has been involved with STS throughout his career, taking his first leadership role in 1994. He has been active on a variety of the society's workforces, particularly those regarding the planning of the annual meeting. In 2003, he was elected to fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and is a former president of the International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery and the Society for Heart Valve Disease. He serves or has served on the editorial boards of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, the Journal of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, the Journal of Cardiac Surgery, the Journal of Heart Valve Disease, the Asian Annals of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, CTS Net, the Heart Surgery Forum, Chest and the American Heart Journal.

Chitwood is a pioneer in developing new technology for minimally invasive heart surgery. His Robotic Surgical Center has trained more than 350 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 Society of Thoracic Surgeons is a non-profit organization representing more than 5,400 surgeons, researchers, and allied health professionals worldwide who provide heart, lung, esophageal and other surgical procedures of the chest. Its mission is to help cardiothoracic surgeons serve patients better.


Contact: Doug Boyd | 252-744-2481