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J Vasc Surg. 2007 Dec;46(6):1093-1101; discussion 1101-2. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

A regional registry for quality assurance and improvement: the Vascular Study Group of Northern New England (VSGNNE).

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  • 1Sections of Vascular Surgery, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA.



A regional cooperative data registry was organized for carotid endarterectomy (CEA), lower extremity bypass (LEB), and infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair (open and endovascular) procedures in Northern New England to allow benchmarking among centers for quality assurance and improvement activities.


Since January 2003, 48 vascular surgeons from nine hospitals in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (25 to 615 beds) have prospectively recorded patient, procedure, and in-hospital patient outcome data. Results plus 1-year follow-up data analyzed at a central site are reported anonymously to each center at semiannual meetings where care processes and regional benchmarks are discussed. Mortality and compliance with procedure entry were validated by independent comparison with hospital administrative data. Initial improvement efforts focused on optimizing preoperative medication usage.


A total of 6143 operations were entered into the registry through December 2006. In-hospital stroke or death after CEA was 1.0%, major amputation or death after LEB was 3.8%, and mortality was 2.9% after elective open and 0.4% after endovascular repair. Variation in results between centers and surgeons provides opportunity for further quality improvement. Any postoperative complication increased median length of stay by > or =3 days. Process improvement efforts initiated in 2004 increased preoperative beta-blocker administration from 72% to 91%, antiplatelet agents from 73% to 83%, and statins from 54% to 72% (all P < .001). Procedure volume and discharge status validation with administrative data led to 99% of appropriate operations being reported to the registry. Mortality was accurately reported to the data registry for all patients.


This validated regional data registry within a quality improvement initiative has been associated with improved preoperative medication usage. It provides a potential vehicle for future public and pay-for-performance reporting and has the potential to improve patient outcomes. It has been sustained for >4 years and is a model that could be adopted by other regions.

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