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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.|
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According to Cardiac Surgery in New Jersey 2003: A Consumer Report, patient mortality rates have declined by 50 percent since 1994 when reporting began.
“Cardiac surgery is far less risky than it was a decade ago,” Commissioner Jacobs said. “This can be attributed to hospitals’ and surgeons’ efforts to make surgery safer. And it proves the value of
“The Cardiovascular Health Advisory Panel appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with the department on this important initiative,” said Dr. Charles Dennis, Chairman of CHAP, a 20-member expert panel that advises the department on cardiac health care issues. “We are proud to be part of a program that has had such positive results.”
Dr. Dennis is also Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Diseases at Deborah Heart and
The report released today includes performance data for 17 hospitals performing cardiac surgery in 2003 and on 52 individual cardiac surgeons who performed at least 100 bypass operations in one hospital in 2002-2003.
According to the most recent data available, hospitals performed 6,817 isolated bypass surgeries in 2003, and 159 patients died in the hospital or within 30 days, resulting in a 2.33 percent mortality rate. When compared on a risk-adjusted basis, this is not significantly different from the 2002 rate of 2.15.
Rates for individual hospitals and surgeons are risk-adjusted to allow fair comparisons. In effect, risk-adjustment gives “extra credit” to hospitals and physicians treating sicker patients. Previous heart surgery, kidney failure, and lung disease were some of the conditions considered in adjusting the data.
According to the report,
“With the statewide average mortality rate so low, it is very good news for consumers that nearly all of our hospitals are performing at the average or better,” Dr. Jacobs explained.
The department previously required that external experts thoroughly review
The DHSS report also examined individual surgeon performance for 2002-2003 combined. No surgeon had a risk-adjusted mortality rate that was significantly lower than the statewide average, although one
In 2003, the number of bypass surgeries performed ranged from a low of 118 at
To examine trends in statewide performance over the last decade, DHSS analyzed ten years of data and risk-adjusted them to account for changes in the patient population. That showed that the death rate has dropped by 50 percent – from 4.5 percent in 1994 to 2.27 in 2003 on a risk-adjusted basis.
Four other states report on cardiac surgery outcomes.
The web version of the consumer report is available on the DHSS web site at www.state.nj.us/health/hcsa/cs.html. Reports may also be obtained by calling 1-800-418-1397, or by writing to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Office of health Care Quality Assessment,
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360