STS Partners with Consumer Reports for National Heart Surgery Ratings

Premier cardiothoracic surgeon group debuts updated ratings in consumer publication

CHICAGO, August 2, 2011 – The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) is featured in an unprecedented 11-page feature article in the September issue of Consumer Reports magazine – one of the top-10-circulation magazines in the country. The cover story, "The Business of Healing Hearts," is the result of an exhaustive investigation by Consumer Reports Health to determine the state of cardiac care in America.

The STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database currently gathers information from more than 90 percent of the roughly 1,100 surgical groups in the United States that perform cardiac surgery. Through an STS collaboration with Consumer Reports Health, this issue features ratings for 323 surgical groups across the country that perform heart bypass surgery. Published exclusively in this month’s issue of Consumer Reports, these updated ratings will allow heart bypass patients compare surgical groups on survival, complications, and other measures.

"We are pleased that Consumer Reports has recognized STS as a national leader in tracking surgical outcomes," said STS President Michael J. Mack, MD. "STS believes the public has a right to know about the quality of surgical outcomes, so consumers can make informed decisions about their health."

Established in 2009, the STS/Consumer Reports Health collaboration was developed to better inform and educate consumers about their options in cardiac care. The STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database is the premier clinical registry for cardiac surgery, houses more than 4 million patient records, and gathers information from more than 90 percent of U.S. surgical groups performing cardiac surgery today.

"In the past decade, there has been a dramatic reduction in mortality among heart surgery patients, and much of that improvement is due to surgeons' willingness to track their own performance. Participation in the STS National Database provides surgeons with frequent feedback to help them compare their local results with national benchmarks," said Fred H. Edwards, MD, who helped establish the Database in 1989 and is now Director of the STS Research Center.

Tools to Help Consumers Make Informed Decisions:

  • Ratings for Heart Surgeons: Patients who are considering a surgical group should check to see if the group in question is rated by Consumer Reports Health. If not, it’s best to ask whether the group reports to The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS). Click on Doctors & Hospitals tab at www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org
  • Heart-Risk Calculator: This interactive online tool allows an individual to gauge the age of their heart by providing key health information. The app-like tool also estimates one’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years. (www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org/heartrisk

Note to Editors: For more information about the STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database, or to arrange for an interview with Dr. Edwards or Dr. Mack, contact Rachel Estrada at restrada [at] sts [dot] org or (312) 202-5865.

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