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Heart Surgery Program Earns Top Quality Rating

Heart Surgery Program Earns Top Quality Rating

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

Heart surgery team

(L to R) Stony Brook University Heart Institute cardiothoracic surgeons Allison J. McLarty, MD, Co-Director, Ventricular Assist Device Program; Thomas V. Bilfinger, MD, Co-Director, Aortic Center; Director, Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit; and Professor of Surgery, Stony Brook University School of Medicine; Vinay Tak, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, Stony Brook University School of Medicine; Joanna Chikwe, MD, Director, Stony Brook Heart Institute; Chief, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Stony Brook Heart Institute; T.F. Cheng Endowed Professor of Surgery, Stony Brook University School of Medicine; and Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and Henry J. Tannous, MD, Surgical Director, Structural Heart Program; Associate Chief, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Stony Brook Heart Institute; and Associate Professor of Surgery, Stony Brook University School of Medicine

Stony Brook, NY, August 1, 2018—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

About Stony Brook University Heart Institute

Stony Brook University Heart Institute is located within Stony Brook University Hospital as part of Long Island’s premier university-based medical center. The Heart Institute offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. The staff includes full-time and community-based, board-certified cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons, as well as specially trained anesthesiologists, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, surgical technologists, perfusionists, and other support staff. Their combined expertise provides state-of-the-art interventional and surgical capabilities in 24-hour cardiac catheterization labs and surgical suites. And while the Heart Institute clinical staff offers the latest advances in medicine, its physician-scientists are also actively enhancing knowledge of the heart and blood vessels through basic biomedical studies and clinical research. To learn more, visit

About STS

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) is a not-for-profit organization that represents more than 7,400 surgeons, researchers, and allied health care professionals worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest. The Society’s mission is to enhance the ability of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide the highest quality patient care through education, research, and advocacy.

About the STS National Database

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), and the General Thoracic Surgery Database (GTSD), and the mechanical circulatory support database (Intermacs). The STS ACSD houses approximately 6.5 million surgical records and gathers information from more than 3,700 participating physicians, including surgeons and anesthesiologists from more than 90 percent 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.

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