This distinction ensures patient safety, improves outcomes, and survival rates

MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center cardiac surgeons have earned distinguished three-star ratings from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for its patient care and outcomes in isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) procedures. The three-star ratings were awarded in the categories of medication compliance, absence of morbidity, absence of mortality, and overall composite score. The three-star accolades denote the highest category of quality and place Orange Coast Medical Center among the elite cardiothoracic surgery programs in the United States and Canada.

The STS star rating system is one of the most sophisticated and highly regarded overall measures of quality in health care, rating the benchmarked outcomes of cardiothoracic surgery programs. The star rating is calculated using a combination of quality measures for specific procedures performed by an STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database participant. Some important measures include absence of morbidity and mortality, percentage of rapid extubation, and use of arterial conduits.

“This is the first time that a cardiothoracic surgery program in the MemorialCare Health System has received a three-star ranking by STS, let alone in four out of five categories ” says Tuan Lam, M.D., cardiovascular surgeon, Orange Coast Medical Center. “The dedication and determination of the entire team to improve best practices, while keeping the patient’s clinical outcome top of mind is why we were able to achieve this prestigious accolade.”

Approximately 20% of participants receive a three-star rating for isolated CABG surgery. The latest analysis of data for the CABG operation covers a three-year period, from July 2020 to [June 2023].

“One of any patient’s greatest fears is intubation. Our team ensures patients are only intubated when medically necessary, we work to get them off the ventilator as quickly as we can, “says Dr. Lam. “Our extubation rate within six hours of surgery far exceeds the national average. In addition, our utilization rate of more than one arterial conduit far exceeds the national average.” Arterial conduits, compared to vein grafts, have been shown to have prolonged patency, confer survival advantage, and lead to less complications such as heart attack and repeat interventions. “We have developed protocols to ensure reductions in complications, such as kidney failure or stroke,” added Dr. Lam.

The Orange Coast Medical Center surgical team first achieved the 3-star rating for overall composite score in CABG and a few months later was awarded three-star rankings for leading outcomes in absence of morbidity and mortality.

“Receiving these additional three-star ratings for our program is humbling, but not surprising” says Rachel Hargrove, M.D. cardiothoracic surgeon, MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center. “Our team is committed and dedicated to performance and process improvement and is dedicated to ensuring every patient that we encounter has the best outcomes for them and their family. These additional rankings mean we are one of the safest hospitals to have cardiothoracic surgery.”

The STS National Database was established in 1989 as an initiative for quality improvement and patient safety among cardiothoracic surgeons. The Database includes four components: the Adult Cardiac Surgery Database (ACSD), the Congenital Heart Surgery Database (CHSD), the General Thoracic Surgery Database (GTSD), and the mechanical circulatory support database (Intermacs). The STS ACSD houses approximately 6.9 million surgical records and gathers information from more than 3,800 participating physicians, including surgeons and anesthesiologists from more than 90% of groups that perform heart surgery in the US. STS public reporting online enables STS ACSD participants to voluntarily report to each other and the public their heart surgery scores and star ratings.

“The Society of Thoracic Surgeons congratulates STS National Database participants who have received three-star ratings,” said David M. Shahian, M.D., chair of the Task Force on Quality Measurement. “Participation in the Database and public reporting demonstrates a commitment to quality improvement in health care delivery and helps provide patients and their families with meaningful information to help them make informed decisions about health care.”

*User note: An STS National Database “Participant” is a cardiothoracic surgeon or group of cardiothoracic surgeons who agree to submit case records for analysis and comparison with benchmarking data for quality improvement initiatives. At the option of the surgeon or surgical group, the Participant can include a hospital and/or associated anesthesiologists (ACSD and CHSD).