Patient deaths following heart bypass surgeries at California hospitals decreased by 34% between 2003 and 2009, according to a report from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Experts believe a state requirement that hospitals report results of bypass operations has encouraged them to work harder to improve outcomes.
California is one of a small number of states that require public reporting of the procedures.
According to the report, California hospitals performed 13,260 bypass surgeries that did not also involve other surgeries in 2009. The surgeries resulted in 252 deaths.
The report found that the statewide risk-adjusted death rate within 30 days of isolated bypass surgery was 1.9% in 2009, compared with 2.9% in 2003, the first year hospitals in California were required to report the results of bypass operations.
According to the report, the death rate for isolated bypass surgery in 2009 was slightly lower for the first time than the in-hospital mortality rate for angioplasties and stenting.
The report also found that the total number of bypass operations declined from previous years.
In addition, the report rated 119 hospitals that perform heart bypass surgeries as "better," "average" or "worse" than state averages, based on several factors such as death rates and strokes resulting from the operation.
Comments on Decline
Maribeth Shannon -- director of the market and policy monitor project at the California HealthCare Foundation, which publishes California Healthline -- said, "Patients are undergoing this procedure less frequently, and when they do undergo it, they have better survival rates."
Joseph Parker, manager of the health care outcomes center at OSHPD, said, "We hope public reporting has contributed to [the] decline, but there are a lot of other things going on." He added, "The procedure has advanced. It's now well-studied and well-performed" (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/24).