Seattle hospital ranks among best for heart surgeries

SEATTLE -- When it comes to the heart and surgery to make yours stronger and tick longer, you want the best team possible in that operating room.

Consumer Reports say in Western Washington, you'd want to go Swedish Medical Center's Cherry Hill Campus.

It's now the only hospital in the state ranked among the best 15 in the country, according a first ever hospital ratings report by Consumer Reports. Swedish now ranks among the top 15 hospitals in the country for both heart bypass and valve replacement surgeries.

"The ratings are based on the gold standard in tracking hospital performance: data from patients' medical records showing whether patients survived the procedure and how they fared on other important measures, including complications," the report reads.

"I think it's an honor for the hospital," said Swedish Chief of Surgery Dr. Glenn Barnhart said,

Barnhart overseas the entire surgery department. The hospital wooed him from the east coast 7 years ago to retool and build this program.

"Really in the last 5 or 6 years we've really concentrated on every little detail when it comes to quality in patient safety, patient outcomes," he said.

Patient outcome is in fact most important. Was the surgery successful, or did it end with serious complications like stroke, kidney failure, or death?

"If you're having heart surgery and you're having our heart worked on you want to have the best outcome possible without a stroke, without kidney failure, without death and be able to go on and enjoy your life," Barnhart said.

Barnhart said they meet four times a year to look at any unexpected outcomes, a morbidity and mortality examination.

"If something doesn't go right we want to try to figure out how we can never ever have that happen again," he said.

In ranking hospitals, Consumer Reports used data from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, which represents physicians. who operate on the heart and other organs in the chest. The STS started collecting this data several decades ago. More than 1,000 U.S. hospitals report to the STS, but only about 400, are transparent, thus allowing STS to share that data with Consumer Reports.

The Swedish team performed 730 heart surgeries in 2013. The average hospital does just 300 to 400.

"Volume means something especially when you've got procedures that you are doing over and over and over you get better at it and when you're looking at your data you figure out what didn't work well and what works well the next time," Dr. Barnhart said.

7 other hospitals in Washington received average rankings from Consumer Reports:

*University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle
*St. Joseph Medical Center, Tacoma
*Providence Regional Medical Center, Everett
*Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children's Hospital, Spokane
*Providence St. Peter Hospital, Olympia
*Harrison Medical Center, Bremerton
*Peace Health St. Joseph Medical Center, Bellingham

So why are Certain famous hospitals missing? Consumer Reports explained that those hospitals don't share data. That includes; Columbia-Presbyterian, Weill Cornell, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Mayo Clinic.

The top 15 hospitals according to Consumer Reports are:
Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA
Borgess Medical Center, Kalamazoo, MI
Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center, Clackamas, OR
Kaleida Health (Gates Vascular Institute at Buffalo General Medical Center), Buffalo, N.Y.
Mother Frances Hospital-Tyler, Tyler, TX
Sequoia Hospital, Redwood City, CA
Spectrum Health - Grand Rapids (Meijer Heart Center), Grand Rapids, MI
St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ypsilanti, MI
St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center, Syracuse, N.Y.
St. Vincent Heart Center of Indiana, Indianapolis. IN
Swedish Medical Center-Cherry Hill Campus, Seattle, WA
The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, Plano, TX
UMass Memorial Medical Center, Worcester, MA
Valley Hospital, Ridgewood, N.J.

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