New Jersey’s cardiac surgery hospitals are required to report data on each patient undergoing open heart surgery. The department’s Open Heart Surgery Registry contains this patient-level data from 1994 to the present.
Hospitals report demographic data on patients -- such as age, sex and zip code -- as well as information on insurance coverage, name of hospital and surgeon. They also provide information on medical history and risk factors known to affect a patient’s chance of surviving the operation.
The department uses this data to create risk-adjusted mortality rates for each hospital and surgeon performing one common type of open heart surgery -- coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). All data are risk-adjusted to give “extra credit” to hospitals and surgeons treating sicker patients.
Each year, the findings are published in the cardiac surgery report, available on the web. Limited copies are also available in print.
Since 1994, when New Jersey began publicly reporting performance data, New Jersey’s risk-adjusted death rates for cardiac surgery have dropped nearly 55 percent.