Outcome Analysis for a Small, Start-up Congenital Heart Surgery Program


  • Presented at the inaugural meeting of The World Society For Pediatric And Congenital Heart Surgery, Washington D.C., May 3 and 4, 2007.

Address for correspondence: Richard D. Mainwaring, M.D., 5301 F Street, Suite 213, Sacramento, CA 95819. Fax: +916-733-7112. e-mail: Mainwar@sutterhealth.org


AbstractThere will be a continuing need to start new congenital heart surgery programs to serve communities experiencing significant population growth. However, small congenital heart programs frequently underperform their larger counterparts. This study summarizes the clinical outcome data for the first 42 months of a small, start-up congenital heart surgery program. Clinical outcomes were summarized from the start of the program in September 2003 through March 2007. Risk adjustment analysis was performed using the risk adjustment in congenital heart surgery (Rachs-1) risk adjustment model and Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) congenital database. Three hundred eighty-six operations have been performed during this time period, including 47 newborns, 96 infants, 217 children/adolescents, and 26 adults (greater than 18 years). There have been two operative mortalities (0.5%). Assigning these cases to the Rachs-1 categories, there were 64 level I, 188 level II, 90 level III, 12 level IV cases, with 32 “others.” The predicted mortality for the 354 categorized cases calculates to be 17.4 (Rachs-1) and 10.2 (STS). The data demonstrate that a start-up program with a relatively modest surgical volume can achieve satisfactory clinical results. This model has relied upon careful case selection and direct, senior-level surgeon involvement through an affiliation with a university-based program. These results suggest that a small congenital heart surgery program can be successfully started if the circumstances are carefully controlled.