Hospitals in state report fewer heart-surgery deaths
SCRANTON — Patients undergoing heart surgery are faring better at Pennsylvania hospitals than they did seven years ago, according to a new report.
Mortality rates for patients who had bypass surgery have fallen by more than 20 percent over that time, while mortality rates for those undergoing heart valve surgery went down by more than a third, according to the report from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.
“Even though the risk profile of the patients we are asked to treat has gotten worse — you know, older, sicker patients — our techniques have gotten better,” said Dr. Russell Stahl, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton.
The report looked at outcomes for 20,164 patients who underwent coronary artery bypass graft and/or heart valve surgery between July 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2012, at the 59 Pennsylvania hospitals doing those procedures.
In bypass surgery, a surgeon creates an alternate path for blood to reach the heart because a section of the artery is blocked. In valve surgery, one or more of the heart's valves are repaired or replaced with an artificial one or one harvested from animal or human tissue.
The percentage of bypass-surgery patients who died in hospitals declined from 1.9 percent in 2005 to 1.5 percent in 2012, according to the cost containment council. In-hospital mortality rates for valve-surgery patients fell by as much as 38 percent over the same period, while a lower percentage of patients needed to be readmitted within 30 days for a heart-related infection or complication, the report said.
Even as the mortality rate is going down, surgeons are doing fewer bypasses. From 2005 to 2012, the number of bypass surgeries without valve procedures decreased by more than a third to 8,280. Experts say new techniques and surgeries give health care providers more ways to treat heart conditions.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Layoffs possible at 5 state system schools, including Edinboro, Clarion
- Pa. road projects safe from feds’ transportation funding delays
- Observers mixed on grid backup amid carbon rules, natural gas uncertainty
- Pennsylvania working to correct upgrade to welfare benefit applications
- Construction of $500M power plant in South Huntingdon stalled
- Upper St. Clair family’s efforts pay off as governor signs Down syndrome education bill
- 2 charged with murder in fatal Philly carjacking
- Corbett, Wolf rush to counter flurry of attack ads
- Home sellers are able to remain mum about violent crimes committed there
- More than 500 migrant kids sent to Pennsylvania
- Mom, daughter die from injuries in food truck blast