SBU News
SBU News > Stony Brook Matters > Medicine Today > Heart Surgery Program: Top Quality Rating

Heart Surgery Program: Top Quality Rating

Cardiothoracic Team at Stony Brook Medicine Joins Elite for Heart Bypass Procedures

The Cardiothoracic Surgery Division at Stony Brook University Heart Institute has earned the highest quality rating of three stars from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for its overall patient care and outcomes in isolated coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedures, based on the latest analysis of data for CABG surgery from January to December 2017.

It’s an achievement shared by an elite group of cardiothoracic surgery programs in the United States and Canada. Historically approximately 10 percent to 15 percent of participants receive the three-star rating for isolated CABG surgery.

Physicians widely regard the STS rating as the gold standard with its world-renowned STS National Database and public reporting initiatives by which to evaluate cardiac surgery programs. The star rating –

based on hospital patient clinical records and calculations using a combination of quality measures for specific procedures performed by an STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database participant – allows patients to find the most accurate and reliable data, and make well-informed decisions about where to receive heart care.

“The Society of Thoracic Surgeons congratulates STS National Database participants who have received three-star ratings,” said David M. Shahian, MD, Chair of the STS Council on Quality, Research, and Patient Safety. “Participation in the database and public reporting demonstrates a commitment to quality improvement in healthcare delivery, and helps provide patients and their families with meaningful information to help them make informed decisions about healthcare.”

“Knowing which hospitals have superior results is a huge advantage for patients,” said Joanna Chikwe, MD, Director, Stony Brook Heart Institute and Chief, Cardiothoracic Surgery. “They can have peace of mind knowing they’re getting care from one of the top-rated facilities in the nation.”

“Everybody recognizes that the STS standards reflect overall best practices in cardiac surgery, and our achievement of top performance in isolated CABG surgery reflects our approach to all types of cardiac surgery,” said Martin Griffel, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Stony Brook Medicine.

The overall three-star rating for bypass surgery represents four areas of quality outcomes:

  • Absence of Mortality (Deaths)
  • Absence of Morbidity (Complications)
  • Use of Internal Mammary Arteries (Arteries located in the chest and commonly used in bypass surgery because they have been shown to have the best long-term results.)
  • Medications (Patients are discharged with proper medications and instructions.)

“The Cardiothoracic Surgery Division’s success in cardiac surgery and world-class care will continue in the new state-of-the-art cardiac surgery unit—opening at the end of this year in the new Hospital Pavilion adjoined to Stony Brook University Hospital,” said Mark A. Talamini, MD, MBA, Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery and Chief of Surgical Services. It will include an entirely new intensive care unit (ICU) with 26 individual rooms designed especially for patients having cardiothoracic procedures, including a contiguous stepdown unit. The current ICU will become new cardiac operating rooms (ORs) to go with the new hybrid ORs that are already up and running.

“The quality of the team is the most important contributing factor as how a patient is going to feel, not just tomorrow but in a week’s time and a year’s time and in 10 years’ time. We want patients to have the best quality of life and the longest life possible,” Dr. Chikwe said.

The isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery rating reflects the commitment to outstanding surgery, safety and care for patients and to remain a leader in cardiac care with approximately 300 people on the Stony Brook University Heart Institute team – including nurses and nurse practitioners, perfusionists, physician assistants, physiotherapists, respiratory support technicians, residents and attending physicians in the cardiac surgery operating rooms, anesthesia and critical care, cardiology and cardiac surgery stepdown floors and outpatient clinics. Also included are care coordinators, dieticians, social workers, and administrative, technical, and housekeeping support in cardiology and cardiac surgery.

“Additionally, we benefit from the superb support of a wide range of services outside the Heart Institute,” said Dr. Chikwe, “including vascular and general surgery, pulmonology, nephrology, neurology, radiology, and endocrinology.”

For more information about Stony Brook University Heart Institute, visit These ratings, based on the 2017 calendar year, will be available in August at

Subscribe to News

Get the latest word on Stony Brook news, discoveries and people.


Get the latest word on Stony Brook news,
discoveries and people.