Erlanger Heart and Lung Institute earns highest rating from Society of Thoracic Surgeons

Chattanooga, Tenn. – Erlanger Heart and Lung Institute has earned a distinguished three-star rating from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for patient care and outcomes in aortic valve replacement (AVR) combined with coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). The three-star rating, which denotes the highest category of quality, places Erlanger among the elite for AVR+CABG surgery in the United States and Canada.

According to STS, the star rating system is one of the most sophisticated and highly regarded overall measures of quality in healthcare, rating the benchmarked outcomes of cardiothoracic surgery programs in the United States and Canada. The star rating is calculated using a combination of quality measures for specific procedures performed by an STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database participant. The star rating is a risk-adjusted calculation that ranked Erlanger in the top fourth percentile of cardiac surgical programs across 11 countries and spanning five continents. 

Larry Shears, MD, chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Medical Co-Director at Erlanger Heart and Lung Institute, stated “Achieving the elite STS 3-star rating is a testament towards our focus on providing the highest level of quality and safety for cardiac surgical patients. Since this highly-respected scoring system reflects care along the entire patient journey, every person within Erlanger Health System should take great pride in attaining this designation of excellence. Overall, there has been an intense focus, supported by the medical staff and administration, to collaboratively provide exceptional care for the cardiovascular patients throughout Erlanger. As co-directors of Erlanger Heart and Lung Institute, Dr. Harish Manyam and I are grateful and inspired for the future of cardiovascular services at Erlanger.”

Historically, approximately 4%–7% of participants receive the three-star rating for AVR+CABG surgery. The latest analysis of data for AVR+CABG surgery covers a 3-year period, from January 2018 to December 2020.

“The Society of Thoracic Surgeons congratulates STS National Database participants who have received three-star ratings,” said David M. Shahian, MD, chair of the Task Force on Quality Measurement. “Participation in the Database and public reporting demonstrates a commitment to quality improvement in health care delivery and provides patients and their families with meaningful information to help them make informed decisions about health care.”

According to information released by STS, Erlanger also improved in the two other measured categories; CABG and Mitral Valve Repair or Replacement (MVRR). In Isolated CABG, Erlanger rated within 2% of being named a 3-star program and within 4% of being named a 3-star for the MVRR’s reporting period.

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 (ACSD), the Congenital Heart Surgery Database (CHSD), the General Thoracic Surgery Database (GTSD), and the mechanical circulatory support database (Intermacs). The STS ACSD houses approximately 6.9 million surgical records and gathers information from more than 3,800 participating physicians, including surgeons and anesthesiologists from more than 90% of hospitals 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.

About STS:

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) is a not-for-profit organization that represents more than 7,300 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.