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Ann Thorac Surg. 1999 Aug;68(2):367-73; discussion 374-6.

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Database: current status and future directions.

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Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver VA Medical Center, USA.


The Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Database, established seven years ago by thoracic surgeons for self improvement and quality assurance, now has 1,181,464 patients registered, including 897,914 coronary artery bypass operations. Risk-adjusted 30 day mortality for coronary bypass procedures, unadjusted mortality for other cardiothoracic procedures, unadjusted morbidity and length of stay as well as several processes of care are measured. There has been a progressive decrease in operative mortality and length of stay over the past seven years. Deaths, complications, and lengths of stay are stratified according to estimated risk of death. Definitions have been refined in conjunction with the American College of Cardiology. The database is being increasingly utilized for state analyses and is in demand by other organizations and third party carriers. Logistic regression analysis is now utilized for development of the risk models. The database has been useful for health care policy decisions and can be useful for our Professional Affairs Committee in their dealings with government. Other uses include measuring access to care and cost. Data quality improvement measures have been put in place, as well as data manager education. The General Thoracic and Congenital data acquisition packages are being modified and improved, and a goal is to begin collecting longitudinal data to demonstrate the long term efficacy of thoracic procedures. The data elements have been decreased from 500 to 200+ core variables for simplification. With the changing healthcare environment and emphasis on cost cutting, collecting valid data by a national specialty group enhances the monitoring of quality of care, thus protecting our patients from overzealous cutbacks. Data is essential to document the efficacy, quality and cost-effectiveness of the procedures we perform and is a necessary tool for each of us to have to assure the quality and continued success of our practices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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