The Cardiothoracic Surgery Division at Stony Brook University Heart Institute has received two back-to-back three-star rating — the highest rating — from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for overall patient care and outcomes in isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery. This distinguished rating is in recognition of the isolated CABG procedures we performed in 2017 and 2018. The STS ratings are regarded as the definitive national reporting system for cardiac surgery.
A Big Honor for Stony Brook’s Cardiac Surgery Team
The three-star rating that Stony Brook achieved is an “Overall Composite Score” for patient outcomes and quality of care for isolated CABG surgery. It measures a surgical team’s performance before, during and after coronary artery bypass grafting surgery, which is the most frequently performed heart surgery. Three stars denotes the highest category of quality and places us among the elite for coronary artery bypass surgery in the United States and Canada. Historically, only about 10 to 15 percent of hospitals receive the three-star rating.
“Knowing which hospitals have superior results is a huge advantage for patients,” says Joanna Chikwe, MD, Director of the Heart Institute and Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery. “They can have peace of mind knowing they’re getting care from one of the top-rated facilities in the nation.”
(L to R) Stony Brook University Heart Institute cardiothoracic surgeons Allison J. McLarty, MD, Co-Director, Ventricular Assist Device Program; Thomas V. Bilfinger, MD, Co-Director, Aortic Center and Director, Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit; Vinay Tak, MD; Joanna Chikwe, MD, Director, Stony Brook Heart Institute and Chief, Cardiothoracic Surgery; and Henry J. Tannous, MD, Associate Chief, Cardiothoracic Surgery and Surgical Director, Structural Heart Program
Four quality domains, two assessing how well patients do after surgery, and two which assess the quality of care we provide, are combined to produce the overall composite score.
How the Ratings are Determined
To determine the star ratings, the STS collects data information from adult cardiac surgery programs that participate in the STS National Database. The public reporting of participants’ star ratings is entirely voluntary, and demonstrates a commitment to providing ever-improving quality healthcare. The data submitted are analyzed and risk-adjusted so that hospitals with a generally “sicker” population aren’t unjustly penalized and/or hospitals with “easy” patients aren’t unfairly rewarded. The STS also randomly audits data submitted by hospitals to validate accuracy.
More than 95 percent of hospitals in the U.S. with cardiac surgery programs submit data to the STS, and, historically, the top 10 percent of performers in the United States and Canada are identified with three-star ratings. For Stony Brook’s Cardiothoracic Surgery Division, it’s a testament to the clinical excellence that we’ve achieved for our patients.
Credible, Reliable Information for Patients
Isolated coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is the most often performed cardiac surgery, but like any open-heart procedure, it requires a high degree of expertise to achieve clinical excellence. STS star ratings of sites enrolled in public reporting can be searched online free of charge to anyone and provide accurate, unbiased information about the quality and safety of the care provided by different heart surgery providers during specific timeframes. It’s easy to search by hospital, location or in star-rating order.
This is a huge advantage for patients with heart problems and their families. It gives verified, meaningful information based on true clinical data that may not always be easily accessible. It can help people make informed decisions about healthcare. The July 2017 – June 2018 star ratings are available at https://publicreporting.sts.org/acsd
A Broad Spectrum of Quality Cardiac Care
"The STS rating is based only on the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery’s experience in coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery, and we believe that the quality and expertise illustrated by the top rating is emblematic of the entire Heart Institute’s dedication to excellence in patient care,” said Joanna Chikwe, MD, Director, Stony Brook Heart Institute and Chief, Cardiothoracic Surgery.
In addition to the bypass surgery, Stony Brook surgeons regularly perform other procedures that save lives. A few examples include:
- TAVR Stony Brook University Hospital is one of a select number of sites in the United States to offer the new minimally invasive procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) for high, intermediate or low-risk patients. Stony Brook has excellent long-term data on patient outcomes with TAVR.
- Mitral Valve Repair Stony Brook is one of the few surgical practices that has specialized experience in mitral value repair surgeries.
- Clinical Electrophysiology Service The Stony Brook Heart Rhythm Center performs in- and outpatient evaluation and management of all types cardiac arrhythmias. Therapies for specific cardiac arrhythmias include investigational and conventional antiarrhythmic drugs, implantable pacemakers and defibrillators, and catheter ablation procedures for complex atrial and ventricular arrhythmias.
A Large Team of Specialists Treating Patients One by One
For a patient to do exceptionally well, you need a highly skilled, experienced team that has a proven record of providing consistently high quality care and safety.
The Heart Institute team has approximately 300 people, all dedicated to excellence of care. The team includes nurses and nurse practitioners, perfusionists, physician assistants, physiotherapists, respiratory support technicians, residents and attending physicians in the cardiac surgery operating rooms, anesthesia and critical care, cardiology and cardiac surgery stepdown floors and outpatient clinics, as well as care coordinators, dieticians, social workers, and administrative, technical, and housekeeping support in cardiology and cardiac surgery.
A New State-of-the-Art Cardiac Surgery Unit
The new Hospital Pavilion adjoined to University Hospital will soon be the home of a brand new cardiac surgery unit, to further enhance the care provided by our Cardiothoracic Surgery Division. It includes an entirely new intensive care unit (ICU) with 26 individual rooms designed especially for patients having cardiothoracic procedures, including a contiguous stepdown unit for patients coming out of intensive care. The current ICU in University Hospital will become new cardiac operating rooms (ORs). Heart Institute surgeons also use the hybrid ORs that are equipped with the latest imaging technologies.
About The Society of Thoracic Surgeons
The STS is a not-for-profit organization that represents more than 7,300 surgeons, researchers, and allied healthcare professionals worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest.