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Winchester Medical Center's Heart Surgery Program Receives Highest Rating

Winchester Medical Center's Heart Surgery Program Receives Highest Rating

Winchester Medical Center has once again received a 3-star rating, the highest score possible, for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), often referred to as heart bypass surgery, uses healthy vessel “grafts” to replace clogged arteries that are no longer able to deliver adequate blood supply to the heart muscle. A cardiothoracic surgeon may replace one or several vessels during a CABG procedure.

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) is a leader in establishing and reporting quality guidelines that give consumers the tools they need to make informed decisions about their care. Cardiothoracic surgeons voluntarily report their outcomes to improve the care and safety of patients. STS has a comprehensive rating system for the quality of cardiac surgery among hospitals across the country. Only 12-15% of hospitals with cardiac surgery programs receive the 3-star rating. The current analysis covers the period from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. WMC’s program has been awarded this highest rating for CABG for 24 consecutive months.

“The 3-Star designation represents the highest level of quality for heart bypass surgery, and achieving this accomplishment for the second year in a row reflects some outstanding work by our entire cardiac surgery team,” said cardiothoracic surgeon Edward Kofsky, MD, Chairman of the Heart Surgery Clinical Council at Winchester Medical Center. “Our ongoing focus on quality has been and will be paramount to the work we do to enhance the care and safety of our surgical patients.”

“Receiving the highest STS rating for CABG is an outstanding achievement in its own right. Maintaining this rating for 24 consecutive months is truly exceptional and stands as a testament to our cardiac surgery team's steadfast commitment to delivering the highest quality care for patients in need of heart bypass surgery in our region,” said Grady W. (Skip) Philips, III, FACHE, senior vice president of Valley Health System and president of Winchester Medical Center. “This recognition truly belongs to the leadership of our Heart Surgery Clinical Council, as well as all of our surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, intensivists, cardiologists, pharmacists and other team members who care for our cardiac surgery patients.”

WMC’s heart surgery program has recently expanded to include minimally invasive CABG through small incisions to replace clogged arteries with a healthy vessel graft. This procedure does not require stopping the heart, and a heart-lung machine is not required. It provides an alternative to standard open-heart bypass surgery when bypassing a single coronary artery.

The 3-star rating from STS is based on a composite score built upon 11 individual measurements grouped into four categories:

  • avoidance of mortality;
  • avoidance of morbidity (percentage of patients who leave hospital with no serious complications such as stroke or kidney failure);
  • use of the internal mammary artery from the chest wall during surgery, shown to lead to better results; and
  • use of four prescribed medications following surgery, shown to improve results.

The STS National Database was established in 1989 as an initiative for quality improvement and patient safety among cardiothoracic surgeons and programs. The database and its quality assessment activities, nationally recognized quality measures, and quality improvement initiatives are built on the foundation of more than 5.8 million surgical records.