Medical Center’s heart bypass surgery receives highest rating

Winchester Medical Center received a 3-star rating for coronary artery bypass grafting from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

According to a Valley Health news release, coronary artery bypass grafting, or heart bypass surgery, uses healthy vessel grafts to replace clogged arteries that no longer deliver enough blood to the heart muscle. A cardiothoracic surgeon may replace one or more vessels during this procedure.

Dr. Edward Kofsky, chairman of the Heart Surgery Clinical Council and medical director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Winchester Medical Center, said he is proud of the remarkable team effort and work accomplished by the staff at Winchester Medical Center.

“I think it’s really great mostly for our community and our patients. It’s great obviously for our organization and for our team because it is a reflection of the hard work our team commits to our patients,” he said.

H added that patients can “feel confident that they will get the very best care they can get in the country.”

The release stated that the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, a leader in establishing and reporting quality guidelines to give consumers the tools needed to make informed medical decisions, gave Winchester Medical Center their highest score, a 3-star rating. Only 12 to 15 percent of hospitals with cardiac surgery programs receive this rating. The analysis period spanned July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.

Kofsky said that all of the work they do is carefully scrutinized by data managers. The data is analyzed and compared to other programs around the country, large and small, and are reflections of quality and of how well they are doing their job.

“It’s our job to do as good a job as we can to try to achieve perfection,” he said.

He added that the majority of hospitals receive a 2-star rating, meaning the hospitals are performing as expected. The few hospitals that have been rated 3-stars are statistically performing above what is expected.

The 3-star rating is based on a composite score from 11 individual measurements grouped into the following four categories:
• Avoidance of mortality.
• Avoidance of morbidity, which is the percentage of patients who leave the hospital with no serious complications.
• Use of the internal mammary artery from the chest wall during surgery, which has lead to better results.
• Use of four prescribed medications following surgery for improved results.

Kofsky added that Winchester Medical Center performs about 300 open heart operations a year, meaning the margin of error to meet a 3-star rating is “very, very thin.” For example, one mortality or stroke in a year could take the medical center down to a 2-star rating.

He said that the medical center has also seen a growth in heart surgeries performed in the last year.

“Our overall heart surgery volume has increased this year by about 15 percent,” he added, but the number of coronary artery bypass surgeries is about the same as last year, with 180-190 surgeries this year.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or