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The East Carolina Heart Institute earns top rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons

June 01, 2012 posted by Carissa Etters

GREENVILLE – The East Carolina Heart Institute has received the highest quality rating from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS). 

The STS database is the national report card that compares the quality of cardiac surgery programs across the country. Historically, only 10 percent of hospitals receive the three-star rating, which is the highest quality category. In the current analysis of national data from Jan. 1, 2011 through Dec. 31, 2011, the cardiac surgery performance at the Heart Institute rose to the highest quality tier, earning the STS three-star rating. 

“When a surgeon or a doctor starts to discuss an operation, the three-star rating will give the patient some repose, satisfaction and solace that they are going to an institution that has high quality, good outcomes, and combined with our patient satisfaction rate at the Heart Institute, which is above 98 percent, that they will have a good family and patient experience,” said Dr. Randolph Chitwood Jr., director of the East Carolina Heart Institute and Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. “We are all about quality. We are all about the highest level of outcomes. We are about patient satisfaction. We are about technology. We have it all here at this heart institute.” 

In 2011, the East Carolina Heart Institute ranked among the top 14 percent of STS participating programs earning the three-star rating for coronary artery bypass procedures (CAB). 

The overall CAB quality rating of three-stars measures top performance in four categories: risk-adjusted mortality, risk-adjusted morbidity, use of the internal mammary arterial conduit and appropriate use of all medications that have been shown to improve long-term survival. 

The risk-adjusted mortality rate takes into account that some patients will be at greater risk for death with heart surgery because of underlying health conditions. The risk-adjusted morbidity takes into account that some patients are at higher risks of complications, such as stroke, kidney failure, infection and prolonged time on a ventilator. 

Additionally, the Heart Institute achieved a three-star rating for aortic value replacement, ranking it among only 3.2 percent of STS participating programs. 

The East Carolina Heart Institute is the first in North Carolina devoted exclusively to education, research, treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases. The institute is associated with Vidant Medical Center and East Carolina University. The primary facilities that make up the Heart Institute are located on the campuses of Vidant Medical Center and ECU’s Brody School of Medicine. Private practice physicians in Greenville and throughout the region are an integral part of the Heart Institute. 
It is the mission of the East Carolina Heart Institute to improve North Carolina’s health status through cardiovascular health service delivery, research and education. The STS three-star rating fully supports that mission. 
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