The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) recently announced findings of its national Adult Cardiac Surgery Database, and Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital (ESJH) received the highest 3-star rating.
The STS has recently developed a comprehensive rating system that allows for comparisons of the quality of cardiac surgery among hospitals across the country.
"The STS results are based on clinical outcomes and place Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital in the top 15 percent of hospitals in the country with heart surgery programs," said Dr. Stanley Carson of Front Range Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, the physicians who perform 99 percent of the adult open heart surgeries at ESJH.
"The STS Database is the oldest and most established measuring quality in any branch of medicine," said Dr. Kevin Miller, another of the Front Range Cardiac surgeons.
"Patients needing heart surgery should ask their surgeon and the hospital if they participate in the STS database and what their results are."
"The rating reflected in the STS data is the result of a team effort," said Dr. Mark Ammons, also a Front Range Cardiac surgeon.
"Everyone involved in patient care – the cardiovascular team in the OR, the intensive care unit and other nursing units, the blood bank – all are part of the team that provides quality outcomes."
Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital’s adult open-heart surgery program has the highest volume in the state of Colorado. In 2006, the Hospital performed 452 open heart surgeries and has submitted data on 7,050 patients since the Society of Thoracic Surgeons started collecting data in 1991.
In addition, Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital is the only hospital in the region to collect follow-up data on its patients.
Under the leadership of Dr. Robert Jones and Dr. Gerald Rainer, ESJH instituted a cardiac registry program in 1980.
The cardiac registry tracks outcomes of open heart procedures and was in its infancy in the 1980s. Only a few major institutions, such as Duke University and the Seattle Heart Watch, had such a program.
The Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation has provided funding assistance for the cardiac registry, which is an integral part of developing standards of care and advances in cardiac and thoracic surgery throughout the country.