UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital No. 1 in North America in congenital heart surgery survival rate

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital ranked No. 1 in North America for congenital heart surgery survivals among medium- to high-volume centers in a recent report by The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, or STS.

In the report, UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital achieved an overall hospital survival rate of 99.2 percent, which exceeds the STS national survival rate of 97 percent.

The biannual report includes procedural data from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2017 and is a combination of 118 participants in the United States and Canada. UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital is a medium-volume center, defined by STS as an institution that sees between 101 to 249 index cases, or a number of specific operations, a year. Low-volume centers see 100 or less index cases a year, and 250 or more index cases are considered high-volume centers.

Since its inception in 2006, the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, housed within UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, has treated neonates, children and adults with congenital and acquired heart disease. Patients and their families have traveled to Gainesville for treatment from across the nation, including from California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.

The center is also staffed by a team of experts in the field of congenital cardiac care, including board-certified cardiothoracic surgeons, pediatric cardiologists, pediatric critical care intensivists, pediatric interventional cardiologists, adult congenital cardiologists, fetal cardiologists and a pediatric electrophysiologist.

In addition, the STS rating makes the center one of 11 such institutions in North America to receive a distinguished 3 out of 3-star rating, which denotes the highest quality of care among the elite for congenital heart surgeries.

The STS star rating system is one of the most sophisticated and highly regarded overall measures of quality in health care, comparing the nationally benchmarked outcomes of cardiothoracic surgery programs in the United States and Canada. The STS Congenital Heart Surgery Database, or CHSD, star rating is calculated based on overall risk-adjusted operative mortality for all patients undergoing pediatric and/or congenital heart surgery performed by an STS CHSD participant.

“This rating speaks to the incredible problem-solving care that our pediatric cardiology and heart surgical teams put into action every day. They put forth their ‘A game,’ no matter the level of complexity, and take every challenge in stride,” said Ed Jimenez, chief executive officer of UF Health Shands. “I hope UF Health can serve as an example to other hospital systems that through collaboration, research and medical advancements, we can all continue moving one step closer toward achieving 100 percent patient survival.”

Mark Bleiweis, M.D., the director of the UF Health Congenital Heart Center and the chief of congenital cardiothoracic surgery, called it an honor and a privilege to be recognized as top in the nation for congenital heart survival.

“We owe our successes to the children and families who continue to motivate us every day to do what we do best,” said Bleiweis. “The STS provides our team with the unique opportunity to analyze how we compare the quality of our care to other cardiac programs and helps us identify any areas of improvement.”