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UK heart surgery survival rates ‘exceptionally good’

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Survival rates for patients undergoing heart surgery in the UK remain consistently high, according to figures published today by the Healthcare Commission (HCC).

Over 35,000 heart operations were performed at 37 heart units across the UK between April 2006 and March 2007.

The national survival rate for all types of heart operations was 96.6%, up by 0.1% from last year’s figure.

Based on the percentage range of patients expected to survive - taking into account patient risk factors – the HCC said the rate of survival for all heart surgery in the UK is as good as, or better, than rates of survival in other developed countries.

According to the data, survival rates at 32 centres were ‘as expected’ and five centres performances were ‘better than expected’.

Of the 20,474 heart bypass operations performed, 98.32% of patients survived nationally, as did 98.01% of the 3,522 patients who underwent aortic valve replacement.

Leslie Hamilton, president of The Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery, said the quality of care in the UK is now ‘exceptionally and uniformly good’.

Sir Ian Kennedy, chairman of The Healthcare Commission, added: ‘Some feared that surgeons may take on fewer high-risk operations [if data on survival rates were made available] but this has not proved to be the case. In fact, the opposite is true.

‘Making this information available has increased patients’ confidence in heart surgeons. It is a fine example for other surgical specialities to follow.’

The full report can be accessed on the Healthcare Commission’s heart surgery website at www.heartsurgery.healthcarecommission.org.uk

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