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UPMC Children’s Heart Institute Once Again Attains STS Three-Star Rating

September 30, 2019 The Heart Institute at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh attained the prestigious Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) three-star rating for its congenital heart surgery program in the latest rankings that analyzed program data from participating health care systems for the four-year period from Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2018.

UPMC Children’s was one of 42 high-volume centers, out of the total 118 reporting institutions during the latest reporting period. Only 10 programs in North America received a three-star designation in the latest survey period, and this is the sixth consecutive reporting period in which UPMC Children’s has received the three-star designation.

UPMC Children’s overall non-risk adjusted mortality rate of 1.8% was lower than all but three of the 42 high-volume centers, with the average overall mortality rate for the 118 STS institutions being 2.85%. Out of these high-volume centers, the lowest mortality rate was 1.4% and the highest mortality rate was 6.3%.

With respect to the observed-to-expected mortality ratio (O/E ratio), UPMC Children’s attained an overall ratio of 0.51, with an adjusted mortality rate of 1.4%. The O/E ratio is defined as the number of observed deaths divided by the number of expected deaths. An O/E greater than 1.0 implies that the hospital had more deaths than would have been expected given the case mix.  Conversely, as is the case with UPMC Children’s Heart Institute, an O/E less than 1.0 suggests that the number of deaths was fewer than expected. 

In the highest-risk congenital heart disease neonatal surgical cases, UPMC Children’s outperformed the rest of the nation, not just in overall outcomes, but in the most complex repairs. Congenital cardiac operations are stratified according to their level of complexity. The STAT method uses five categories to group these operations according to their complexity.  Across all STAT categories of neonatal cases, UPMC Children’s adjusted mortality was 3.9% and the national average was 8.0%. More compelling are the statistics for STAT 5 (the most complex) neonatal operations. In this category, UPMC Children’s adjusted mortality was 4.6% while the national average is 15.4%.    

“This accomplishment is a credit to Dr. Morell’s commitment to excellence, and the result of an incredible Heart Institute team,” says Vivek Allada, MD, executive director of the Heart Institute at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

For complete ratings details and methodology, visit the STS website.