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Consumer Reports Cites Cardiac Surgery at SVMHS

Surgery program’s data transparency

makes it eligible for rating by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons


SALINAS, CA, August 31, 2011 —The Stanford Cardiac Surgery Program at Salinas Valley Memorial was one of 31 heart surgery programs in California recognized in the August issue of Consumer Reports.  Salinas Valley Memorial voluntarily reports its quality data to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), a nonprofit organization that has collected data since 1989.

STS compares hospital performance with national benchmarks for surgical quality. “Salinas Valley Memorial shares its quality outcomes as part of our ongoing commitment to transparency, improving care and helping patients make informed decisions,” says Vincent DeFilippi, MD, FACS, Medical Director of the Stanford Cardiac Surgery Program at Salinas Valley Memorial. “This rating indicates that our patients are receiving effective, evidence based care. We are honored to be the only hospital in the area to receive this recognition.  We take our leadership position in transparency very seriously, demonstrating we are committed to doing what is right for our patients.”

In explaining the importance of reporting outcomes data, Consumer Reports warns, “If you are considering bypass surgery with a group that is not in the ratings, you should still ask for its results. That's because most surgical groups that have not yet agreed to share data with us do participate in the STS database.  And they should be willing to provide those results to you.  In fact, our medical experts say that if a group can’t share that information—or won’t—you should consider looking for a different one.”

Cardiac surgeons at Salinas Valley Memorial use a variety of techniques to perform CABG (coronary artery bypass graft) surgery including the current standard approach where a heart-lung machine is used; an off-pump bypass where surgeons immobilize only the portion of the heart receiving the graft; minimally invasive techniques using a small incision and several puncture sites; and a hybrid procedure in which a surgeon does a minimally invasive bypass on the major coronary arteries and an interventional cardiologist clears blockages in other arteries using angioplasty and stents. “Our cardiac surgeons use the full range of options and utilize the latest technologies and procedures to ensure that each patient receives the most appropriate and effective care,” added David Perrott, MD, MBA, Vice President/Chief Medical Officer, who oversees quality at Salinas Valley Memorial.

STS uses eleven standardized measures—endorsed by the National Quality Forum to rate hospitals—that fall into four broad categories:  

  1. Patient survival (a patient survives at least 30 days after the surgery and is discharged from the hospital)
  2. Absence of surgical complications (patients do not experience any of the five serious complications during hospitalization)
  3. Recommended medications (a patient will get all of the recommended drugs after the surgery)
  4. Optimal surgical technique (patients receive at least one graft involving an internal mammary artery that improves long-term survival compared with grafts taken from veins)

The Stanford Cardiac Surgery Program at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital received either two or three stars (out of three stars) in the four categories measured.

Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, opened in 1953, established the Harden Memorial Regional Heart Program in 1987. The Stanford Cardiac Surgery Program, launched September 1, 2008, was an outgrowth of the hospital’s commitment to providing local, state-of-the-art care for people with heart disease and those working to prevent it.


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