Thursday, July 30, 2009

UK Cardiac Outcomes Improve Despite Publishing Info

It's been feared that publication of outcomes for adult cardiac patients would make surgeons more defensive about their work, and lead them to avoid taking on higher-risk patients who may damage their statistics. However a new study in the UK, where death rates have been reported since 2001, are so good that experts there are calling for all surgical specialties to publish such data.

An analysis of more than 400,000 operations by the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery shows outcomes in the UK have improved significantly since publication of that information began. The study also found more elderly and high-risk patients were now being treated, and that fewer patients are being cut open a second time due to complications like infections.

"We are now taking on older, sicker, higher-risk patients, and these patients, rather than doing worse because of their risk, are actually doing better than they did before," said Mr. Graham Venn, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in London.

However, the data also shows that survival rates remain significantly worse for women than men, with the gap between the sexes failing to close.


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