Cardiac Surgery in Pennsylvania 2005-2006 - News Release

Contact: Joe Martin, Communications Director
717-232-6787 or


Harrisburg, PA - September 18, 2008 - In-hospital patient mortality rates following coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery dropped from 1.90 percent in 2005 to 1.77 percent in 2006, according to a new report released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). That is the lowest mortality rate for the cardiac procedure since PHC4 began publicly reporting on heart bypass surgery. The report also noted that patient readmission rates following CABG surgery fell between 2000 and 2006. During this time period, the 7-day and 30-day readmission rates dropped by 13.3 percent and 10.7 percent, respectively.

"The dramatic drops in mortality and readmissions are a tribute to Pennsylvania's outstanding hospitals and surgeons," said David R. Kreider, PHC4's Chairman and Vice President for Operations and Treasurer for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. "It is more evidence that the process of public reporting works, especially since CABG mortality rates in the state have dropped 45.2 percent since 1994."

The report, titled Cardiac Surgery in Pennsylvania 2005-2006 includes information on approximately 34,000 CABG and/or valve surgeries performed in Pennsylvania hospitals in 2005 and 2006 involving four distinct cardiac surgical categories. The report provides information on the number of surgeries performed, in-hospital and 30-day mortality rates, 7-day and 30-day readmission rates, and post-surgical lengths of stay for both hospitals and surgeons. Aggregate statewide information about patients who contracted hospital-acquired infections during their 2006 hospitalization for CABG and/or valve surgery is also included.

Unlike last year's report, surgeon and hospital outcomes are reported for combined 2005 and 2006 data allowing for a more robust analysis of the data. While hospital outcomes also are reported for 2006 data only, the larger volume of cases from combining two years of data yielded a more robust analysis of surgeons and hospitals. The Council stresses that it is important to also look at the individual year 2005 data from the 2007 report, currently available online at the PHC4 website.

""This report goes much further than any other report available in helping to identify top-notch cardiac care," said David H. Wilderman, PHC4's Acting Executive Director. "It is a valuable tool for purchasers, consumers, and other health care stakeholders."

When examining all open heart surgeries, the average number of cases per surgeon decreased from 121 in 2005 to 114 in 2006—down from 149 in 2000. The average number of open heart procedures per hospital decreased from 346 in 2005 to 330 in 2006—down from 499 in 2000.

Of the 16,663 CABG and/or valve patients in 2006, hospitals reported to PHC4 that 1,048 of them – or 6.3 percent – contracted a hospital-acquired infection during their stay.

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council is an independent state agency charged with collecting, analyzing and reporting information that can be used to improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care in Pennsylvania. Copies of the report are free and can be ordered by calling PHC4 at 717-232-6787 or can be downloaded from PHC4's website at