Among the elite

UF Health Shands Hospital rated one of top hospitals nationwide for quality of care in congenital heart surgery

By Alisha Kinman

UF Health Shands Hospital has earned the highest rating from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, or STS, for its patient care and outcomes in congenital heart surgery. The distinguished three-star rating places UF Health Shands Hospital among the elite for congenital heart surgery in the United States and Canada.

The STS star-rating system compares the nationally benchmarked outcomes of cardiothoracic surgery programs in the United States and Canada. The STS Congenital Heart Surgery Database star rating is calculated based on overall risk-adjusted operative mortality for all patients undergoing pediatric and/or congenital heart surgery performed by hospitals that report statistics to the STS.

“Our team is pleased to be ranked among the top hospitals in the country for excellence in quality and patient care for patients with congenital heart disease. Our operative survival outcomes continue to exceed the national average across all five categories of complex procedures performed at UF Health, and we attribute that to the outstanding team of clinicians at UF Health Shands Hospital,” said Bill Pietra, M.D., chief of pediatric cardiology at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, and associate director of the UF Health Congenital Heart Center.

Historically, only 5 to 7 percent of participants receive the three-star rating for congenital heart surgery. The latest analysis of data for congenital heart surgery covers a four-year period, from July 2012 to June 2016, and includes 116 participants.

Bouncing baby boy Paul Neshewat was among the pediatric patients treated at the center during this four-year period. Before Paul’s birth in 2015, doctors discovered that he would be born with a rare congenital heart defect that involves an obstruction of normal blood flow to the lungs because of a hole in the lower chamber of his heart. He also would be born with pulmonary valve atresia, a type of congenital heart defect where the pulmonary valve that facilitates blood flow to the lungs does not function properly.

Shortly after Paul’s birth, Mark Bleiweis, M.D., the center director and chief of congenital cardiothoracic surgery at the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, learned of Paul’s condition. Less than two months after his birth, Paul was transported to UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital and underwent his first corrective surgery. Later that same year, Paul was readmitted for a full repair and was discharged from the hospital’s Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit one week later.

“The Society of Thoracic Surgeons congratulates STS National Database participants who have received three-star ratings,” said David M. Shahian, M.D., 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 health care delivery and helps provide patients and their families with meaningful information to help them make informed decisions about health care.”

The STS National Database was established in 1989 as an initiative for quality improvement and patient safety among cardiothoracic surgeons. The database includes three components: The Adult Cardiac Surgery Database, the Congenital Heart Surgery Database and the General Thoracic Surgery Database.