Regulatory efforts to assess and improve the quality of pediatric cardiac surgery in New York State

Edward L. Hannan, Kimberly S. Cozzens, Zaza Samadashvili, John N. Morley, Roberta G. Williams, Thomas J. Kulik, Frederick Z. Bierman, Carlos E. Ruiz, George M. Alfieris, John J. Lamberti, Jeffrey P. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The New York State Department of Health developed a Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Reporting System in 1991 that contains detailed information on demographics, diagnoses, procedures, comorbidities, complications, and discharge information for every pediatric cardiac surgery patient in the state. The Department and the Congenital Cardiac Services Subcommittee of the Department's Cardiac Advisory Committee have used data from this system to assess, assure, and improve quality of care and to generate public reports on an ongoing basis. Two reports (one covering 3. years and the other covering 4. years) have been published, and a third report, comprising the years 2006-2009, will be released shortly. These reports contain information on patient diagnoses, patient severity groups, and risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality rates for all hospitals that perform pediatric cardiac surgery. The goal of the DOH and the CAC is to improve the quality of cardiac care in NYS. Providing the hospitals and cardiac surgeons in NYS with data about their own outcomes for these procedures allows them to examine the quality of the care they provide and to identify areas that need improvement. These data are fed back to providers on an ongoing basis in addition to in the published reports. The overall results of this program of ongoing review show that significant progress is being made. The volume of surgeries and the number of hospitals where they are performed have both decreased dramatically in the years since NYS first began reporting risk-adjusted outcomes for pediatric cardiac surgery. In 1997, 16 hospitals performed 1749 pediatric cardiac surgeries. By 2009, there were only 10 hospitals performing 1304 surgeries. The average number of surgeries per hospital in 1997 was 109 compared to 139 in 2010. Many factors, including increased use of catheter-based therapies, may have contributed to the overall decline in the number of surgeries. The overall mortality rate for pediatric cardiac surgery dropped from 4.08% in 2002 to 2005 period to a mortality rate of 3.35% in 2006 to 2009 period with no major changes in overall patient risk, although part of this decrease may also be due to improvements in the field in general. A multivariable analysis demonstrated that a dedicated pediatric cardiac ICU proved to be a significant independent predictor of mortality. The methods for assessing patients' risk of in-hospital mortality have changed with each successive report, and this study describes the current method and the risk factors used in the method. The Department's other initiatives for improving quality, including consolidation of services, linking processes and structures of care to outcomes, and other regulatory actions, are also described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalProgress in Pediatric cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac
  • Outcomes
  • Pediatric
  • Quality
  • Risk-adjustment
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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