We have been making our outcomes available on our website for many years. We believe that patients and families who are confronting the necessity of a cardiac operation need to know both the average results obtained in the United States and the specific results of the surgical team they are visiting.
You have the right to know the results that physicians achieve in their work and the responsibility to understand what those results mean.
1. Our results show that we perform an unusually broad and complex range of cases and achieve excellent results.
2. It is a mistake to rank like batting averages the results obtained in various hospitals, because results vary from year to year. In general, cardiac operations are competently performed throughout our nation. We present our results because we are proud of what we have done and because you have the right to know.
3. We are skeptical of groups who do not submit their results for scrutiny or who present only percentages. Look for actual numbers of cases. We are also skeptical of selected cases being presented. We present all of our cases for review. Some groups have not allocated resources to collect results while others argue that their cases are so difficult that they cannot be compared to any standard. However, the STS has developed statistical methods to adjust for the difficulty of cases. This adjustment at least partially compensates for the degree of difficulty of challenging cases. A surgeon should be sufficiently talented to achieve weighted results close to the standard.
Understanding Cardiac Surgery Results
National results come from a large database of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons that has compiled the results of United States surgeons for many years. This database is so large that it can “risk adjust” outcomes to account for the variety of complicating factors that affect the outcomes of procedures such as age, diabetes, and many other conditions.
Individual surgeons and surgical groups collect their outcomes and contribute them to the STS database. We have always wanted patients to understand this information so they can make informed choices about their illness.
This edition of our Results contains three types of information. First, it has results our group, Pacific Coast Cardiac & Vascular Surgeons (PCCVS), achieved in over 6500 patients and over 8500 procedures. These results were achieved before 2013. Second, in this new edition, I’ve added my personal results from the past eight years, 2012-2019. This includes over 2120 procedures I personally performed in 1559 patients. Third, we have included national results for comparison. I hope you will be comforted to know that we have provided 4 Introduction increasingly good results, that we consistently perform better than the national averages, and that we are still working to make them better.
There are two reasons why we focused on my personal results in this edition. First, I have been in practice over 30 years, and many have relied on my capacity to achieve excellent results. I wanted everyone to see my most recent outcomes. Secondly, our group controls cardiac surgery in six Bay Area hospitals, and that has made summarizing results for all of our surgeons in all of our hospitals a difficult problem for information technology. So we decided to focus on me.
We have organized these outcomes so you can acquire an overview of what we do, followed by an in depth look at some of the more common operations we perform. If you have questions, you can find information on our website, or you can ask them when you visit.
I have also put together some brief videos on YouTube that are generic discussions of some of the common problems in cardiac surgery. You can find them by typing “Vincent Gaudiani” into the YouTube search. Don’t hesitate to call our office if you need additional information.