State Health Department Releases Latest Report on Coronary Bypass Surgery in New York State

Coronary Bypass Surgery Mortality Rates Continue to Decline

Albany, Feb. 13, 2001 – New York State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H. today issued the 1998 Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery report which showed that for the third consecutive year, and for the ninth year in the last 10, New York State recorded its lowest mortality rate for coronary bypass surgery since the State Health Department first began reporting surgery outcomes in 1989. The 1998 statewide mortality rate, 2.15 per 100 patients, bettered the previous year's mark of 2.22.

"Our ongoing strong performance in the area of coronary artery bypass surgery underscores our deep commitment to provide all New Yorkers with the highest level of care possible by highly trained health care professionals," Dr. Novello said. "I firmly believe that we have the finest cardiac surgeons and programs in the nation and the steady decline in bypass mortality rates in this report confirms that."

New York's coronary artery bypass surgery death rate has dropped nearly 39 percent, from 3.52 per 100 in 1989 to the current low of 2.15. The fact that hospitals can compare their own data to statewide statistics in the New York State Cardiac Surgery Reporting System is a major factor contributing to this improvement. Many hospitals have used this information to effectively evaluate their programs and make changes to improve survival rates for patients undergoing bypass surgery.

The State Health Department report provides risk–adjusted mortality rates for each of the 33 hospitals approved to provide coronary artery bypass surgery in New York State. To equitably compare mortality rates between hospitals and surgeons, the Department of Health collects and calculates information on more than 40 patient risk factors that can affect surgery outcome and risk of death for individual patients. Mortality rates are also published for surgeons who performed the procedures during the three–year period 1996 through 1998.

The risk–adjusted mortality rates varied among hospitals, ranging from 0.82 percent to 12.76 percent. Two hospitals, St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, and Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola had risk–adjusted bypass surgery death rates significantly lower than the statewide average of 2.15 percent. Winthrop–University Hospital performed 744 coronary bypass surgeries with eight deaths for a risk–adjusted mortality rate of 0.82 percent and St. Joseph's performed 824 coronary procedures with only seven deaths for a 0.93 percent rate.

Those hospitals with a much higher risk–adjusted mortality rate included St. Vincent's in Manhattan, at 5.39 percent; Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, at 6.27 percent; and Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, at 12.76 percent.

When comparing the mortality rates for hospitals over the three–year period 1996 through 1998, three hospitals achieved risk–adjusted mortality rates significantly below the statewide average of 2.27 percent: St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center (0.75 percent); St. Francis Hospital (1.70 percent); and Winthrop University Hospital (1.26 percent). Four hospitals had rates substantially above the statewide average: Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City (3.27 percent); St. Vincent's (4.47 percent); Arnot Ogden (4.68 percent); and Bellevue (5.14 percent).

Bellevue Hospital voluntarily suspended its cardiac surgery program in February 2000 to reassess and reorganize its program and Arnot Ogden has entered into an oversight agreement with the Departments of Medicine and Surgery at Columbia University in New York City. Moreover, St. Vincent's has made major changes in its program since 1998, including hiring a new cardiac surgery director.

A total of 18,814 coronary bypass surgeries was performed statewide in 1998, down from 20,220 in 1997, 20,078 in 1996 and 19,283 in 1995. This is the first year that bypass surgery volume has declined in New York State, mirroring a national trend. This is attributed, in part, to the availability and expanded use of angioplasty.

Detailed statistical analysis of the information is carried out under the guidance of the New York State Cardiac Advisory Committee, composed of recognized cardiologists, surgeons and other medical specialists from New York and other states. A comprehensive report on 1999 data is expected to be available later this year.

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.

2/13/01–15 OPA