Cardiac Surgery in Pennsylvania 2006-2007 - News Release

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


Harrisburg, PA - August 6, 2009 - Patient mortality rates following cardiac valve surgery in Pennsylvania hospitals dropped 23.9 percent, from 5.15 percent in 2005 to 3.92 percent in 2007, according to a new report released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4).

From 2006 to 2007, there was a 5.4 percent drop in the percent of patients who contracted infections while in the hospital for CABG and/or valve surgery.

The report also noted that in-hospital patient mortality rates following coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery declined slightly from 1.77 percent in 2006 to 1.75 percent in 2007. That (1.75%) is the lowest mortality rate for the cardiac procedure since PHC4 began publicly reporting on heart bypass surgery. CABG mortality rates in the state have dropped 45.8 percent since 1994.

"Pennsylvania's outstanding doctors, nurses and hospitals should be commended for these dramatic drops in mortality and infection rates," said Joe Martin, PHC4's Communications Director. "These figures contribute to a growing body of evidence that public reporting works."

The report, titled Cardiac Surgery in Pennsylvania 2006-2007, includes information on approximately 32,000 CABG and/or valve surgeries performed in Pennsylvania hospitals in 2006 and 2007 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. Average hospital charges are listed for hospitals only. Surgeon and hospital outcomes are reported for combined 2006 and 2007 data to allow for a more robust analysis of the data, and hospital outcomes also are reported for 2007 data only.

When examining all open heart surgeries, the average number of cases per surgeon decreased from 114 in 2006 to 108 in 2007—down from 149 in 2000. The average number of open heart procedures per hospital decreased from 330 in 2006 to 315 in 2007—down from 499 in 2000.

For 2007, hospitals reported to PHC4 that of the 15,655 patients who underwent these cardiac procedures, 933 (5.96%) contracted an infection during their stay. In 2006, 1,048 (6.30%) patients undergoing these procedures contracted a hospital-acquired infection.

After four years of steady declines from 2000 to 2004, 7-day readmission rates for CABG without valve surgery fluctuated up and down between 2004 and 2007. From 2000 through 2007, 30-day readmission rates also fluctuated.

For patients undergoing CABG without valve surgery from 2000 to 2007, the top reason for readmissions within 7 days varied between infections and heart failure. During this same timeframe, infection was consistently the top reason that patients were readmitted within 30 days of CABG without valve surgery.

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 downloaded from PHC4's website at