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THE JOURNAL OF CARDIOVASCULAR SURGERY
Rivista di Chirurgia Cardiaca, Vascolare e Toracica
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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ORIGINAL ARTICLES CARDIAC SECTION
The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2003 October;44(5):591-6
“Learning curves” of cardiac surgery in relation to risk stratification and hospital location
Anagnostopoulos C. E. 1,2,3, Siminelakis S. 1, Ananiadou O. 1, Katsaraki A. 1, Drossos G. 1 , Katritsis D. 2, Panagiotopoulos J. 2, Papadopoulos G. 1
1 Department of Cardiac Surgery, University of Ioannina, Greece
2 Department of Cardiac Surgery, Athens Euroclinic, Greece
3 Section of Cardiac Surgery, St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
Aim. The purpose of this study was to determine any significant differences in “learning curves” between private and public hospitals when the same senior surgeon was responsible during the initial phases of open-heart surgery programs development, in relation to risk stratification and hospital location.
Methods. A prospective review of 610 patients records was performed at a newly-opened cardiothoracic program in a public University Hospital (PUH) in the periphery of Greece, and a private institution (PI) with an experienced intensive care unit (ICU) in the capital city of Athens. Preoperative risk stratification, mortality and postoperative length of stay (LOS) were analysed between 1999 to 2001.
Results. At PUH 298 patients were operated and 312 patients at PI. There were 136 low risk (EuroSCORE 0-2) and 474 medium and high-risk patients (EuroSCORE ≥3). There was no significantly elevated mortality or learning curve in low risk surgery either at PUH (57 patients with 1 death) or PI (79 patients 1 death). In medium and high-risk surgery at PI there was no mortality in 68 patients operated by the senior surgeon and no learning curve in all 233 such patients. In 240 medium and high-risk patients at PUH there was a learning curve despite the involvement of the same senior surgeon. In 1999 and 2000 the observed mortality (OM) in 150 patients was 15.33%, EuroSCORE 5.98, and in 2001 in 91 patients OM 3.29%, EuroSCORE 5.95 with p=0.0038 when “experienced” ICU staff was employed. LOS was significantly reduced in 97 patients in 2001 at PUH (8.7 d ± 2.81 vs 11.07days ± 7.9 in 1999 and 2000, p=0.046) confirming the existence of a learning curve at the PUH. No such change was observed at PI (8.2 days vs 7.8, p=0.45).
Conclusion. No mortality differences or learning curve characteristics were detected for low risk operations either at PUH or PI. For medium and high risk surgery there appears to be a learning curve in PUH but not in PI despite senior surgeon involvement in both. The presence of an experienced ICU appears to play a critical role in the outcome of operations in newly opened cardiothoracic programs.