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Trident Receives Highest Designation from Society of Thoracic Surgeons

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) recently announced the findings of its national Adult Cardiac Surgery Database.

After an analysis of national data, covering the period from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) awarded Trident Medical Center its highest possible rating of 3-Stars. To put that in perspective, this score is earned by only 15% of all eligible hospitals.

The STS is a national comprehensive rating system that allows for comparisons of the quality of cardiac surgery among hospitals across the country.

The STS score is calculated using a combination of 11 measures of quality. The composite score is a single number or rating that summarizes all available information about the quality of care delivered by a hospital.

The STS Coronary Artery Bypass Graft composite score is calculated using a combination of 11 measures of quality divided into four broad categories or domains.

  • The first domain is risk-adjusted mortality.
  • A second domain is risk-adjusted major morbidity, which addresses the percentage of patients who leave the hospital with none of the five most serious complications (often referred to as morbidities) of CABG – reoperation, stroke, kidney failure, infection of the chest wound, or prolonged need to be supported by a breathing machine, or ventilator.
  • The third domain measures the percentage of CABG procedures that include the use of at least one of the arteries from the underside of the chest wall – the internal mammary (or internal thoracic) artery – for bypass grafting. This artery has been shown to function much longer than vein grafts, which can become blocked over time.
  • Finally, the fourth domain measures how often all of the four medications believed to improve a patient’s immediate outcome and long-term risk of developing more blockages were prescribed. Those drugs include beta-blocking drugs prescribed pre-operatively, as well as aspirin (or similar drugs to prevent graft clotting), and additional beta-blockers and cholesterol-lowering medicines prescribed post-operatively.

The composite score is a single number or rating that summarizes all available information about the quality of care delivered by an individual provider. It is this principle that led The Society of Thoracic Surgeons to develop what is known as the STS CABG composite score and rating, now one of the most sophisticated and widely regarded overall measures of quality in health care.

“The STS results are based on clinical outcomes and place Trident Medical Center in the top 15 percent of hospitals in the country with heart surgery programs,” said James Benner, MD of Palmetto Cardiothoracic Associates, and the medical director of the Trident Health Cardiovascular Surgery program.

“The STS Database is the oldest and most established registry measuring quality in healthcare, more established than any other database that evaluates quality in other branches of medicine,” said Allison Walters, RN, Cardiovascular Service Line Administrator for Trident Health. “Patients needing heart surgery should ask their surgeon and the hospital if they participate in the STS database and what their results are.”

“The rating reflected in the STS data is the result of a team effort,” said James Benner, MD. “Everyone involved in patient care – espiratory therapy, the Trident medical staff, the blood bank – all are part of the team that provides quality outcomes. It truly reflects the excellent work and commitment to our patients at Trident Medical Center.”