Carolinas HealthCare System
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Cardiothoracic Surgery Program at CHS Rated Among the Best in the Nation

Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute Performs Well Above National Averages for Open Heart Surgery

February 20, 2012 - The open heart surgery program at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute was nationally recognized by The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), receiving a three out of three star ranking for outcomes in coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). In the analysis of the July 2010 to June 2011 STS data, the program’s outcomes are ranked in the top 15 percent in the nation with adherence to a comprehensive rating system developed by the STS.

“The rating indicates that at Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute we deliver the highest quality of care based on a number of measures that the STS uses to evaluate program outcomes,” said Charles R. Bridges, Chair of the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Department. “This involves indices of not just how well patients do, but what processes we have in place to ensure that our patients continue to do well after they leave the hospital.”

Surgeons at Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute performed 327 CABG surgeries between July 2010 and June 2011, well above the national average of 155 per year. The team also performed more valve surgeries and combination surgeries (valve and CABG) than the national average. The open heart surgery program also ranked above the national STS mean for outcomes and process measures the rating is based on; therefore achieving the highest ranking of three stars. Those measures include survival rates, avoidance of complications and adherence to appropriate internal processes before, during and after surgery.

Not only does the rating look at quality of care and patient outcomes, but it demonstrates the clinical team’s commitment to improving patient care. By closely monitoring patient outcomes and process data, the program has seen significant and continual improvements in the quality of care delivered. A score card for each patient has been developed based on STS guidelines and other evidence-based information. Every member of the team is accountable for his or her area of care, and has a responsibility to document specific metrics after every procedure during, and sometimes after the patient leaves the hospital. Patient data is reviewed weekly by a quality committee whose mission is to continually refine processes to improve patient outcomes – and in turn, deliver the best care possible to each and every patient.

Patients at Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute should understand that their care is the top priority of the physicians and staff. The comprehensive and integrated team, including surgeons, cardiologists, anesthesiologists and mid-level providers, work collaboratively to identify the specific disease and needs of each patient in order to determine the best course of treatment - providing not only the highest quality of care, but the right care.