State Issues Annual Cardiac Surgery Report
Albany, November 12, 1998 – New York hospitals and cardiac surgeons have achieved the lowest death rate ever reported in New York or the nation for patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery, the State Health Department announced today.
The statewide mortality rate for coronary bypass surgery was 2.44 per 100 patients in 1996, representing the lowest death rate ever recorded since the State Health Department first began monitoring surgery outcomes.
New York's bypass surgery death rate has dropped by more than 30 percent, from 3.52 per 100 in 1989, the first year the data was published. The State Health Department credits this significant improvement in patient survival rates in part to the sharing of performance data with hospitals and physicians. Some hospitals with higher than average mortality rates in prior years, have evaluated their procedures and made changes that resulted in improved survival rates for patients.
A 33–page report released today by the State Health Department provides risk–adjusted mortality rates for each of the 32 hospitals approved to provide coronary artery bypass surgery in New York State. Mortality rates are also published for surgeons who performed the surgery during the three–year period 1994 through 1996.
A total of 20,078 coronary bypass surgeries were performed statewide in 1996, up from 19,283 in 1995 and 18,051 in 1994. The risk–adjusted mortality rates varied among hospitals, ranging from 1.10 to 5.93 percent. Risk adjusted rates take differences in the complexity of cases into account in evaluating outcomes.
For the third year, St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse had the lowest risk–adjusted bypass surgery death rate –– 1.10 per 100 patients –– which is significantly lower than the statewide average of 2.44. St. Joseph's performed 812 coronary bypass surgeries, with only 7 deaths.
Three Manhattan based hospitals had bypass surgery death rates significantly above the statewide average in 1996. Lenox Hill Hospital performed 860 surgeries with a risk adjusted death rate of 3.64 percent, St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center performed 522 surgeries, resulting in a risk adjusted death rate of 4.32 percent, and St. Luke's–Roosevelt Hospital had 430 cases with a risk adjusted mortality rate of 4.25 percent.
Arnot–Ogden Hospital in Elmira had the highest risk–adjusted mortality rate of 5.93 percent for the 135 surgeries performed at the facility. Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan also had a high mortality rate of 4.52 percent for 94 surgeries. The relatively small number of surgeries performed by these hospitals results in a high statistical margin for error. Therefore, rates for these two hospitals are not ranked as significantly higher than the statewide average. However, the Department of Health and the New York State Cardiac Advisory Committee are closely monitoring their performance.
When comparing the mortality rates for hospitals over the three year period 1994 through 1996, four hospitals achieved risk–adjusted mortality rates significantly below the statewide average of 2.48 percent. These are: St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse with the lowest three year risk adjusted cardiac surgery death rate of 1.01 percent; Albany Medical Center Hospital which had a three year rate of 1.86; North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset with a rate of 1.74 percent; and St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn with a three–year rate of 1.74 percent.
The Health Department report also lists the risk–adjusted mortality rates for individual surgeons at each hospital where they performed bypass surgery during the three year period, 1994 – 1996.
To ensure that cardiac surgery teams operate frequently enough to maintain a high degree of skill, New York State has approved only 32 hospitals to perform open heart surgery. To equitably compare mortality rates among hospitals and surgeons, the Department of Health collects and computerizes information on more than 40 patient risk factors that can affect surgery outcome and risk of death for individual patients. Detailed statistical analyses of the information is carried out under the guidance of the New York State Cardiac Advisory Committee, comprised of recognized cardiologists, surgeons and other medical specialists within and outside of New York.
The Health Department will mail copies of its Cardiac Surgery Report to all hospitals and cardiologists in the state. The booklets also will be made available to public libraries, and the data will be posted on the Health Department's Internet site (www.health.state.ny.us). Copies of the report may be obtained by writing to: Cardiac Report, Box 2000, Albany, New York 12220.