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High-Quality Heart Care

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UPMC is committed to delivering high-quality heart care. This quality is based on a combination of highly skilled doctors, nurses, technologists and other health care providers; state-of-the-art facilities and technology; and a commitment to delivering the right care, to the right patient, at the right time.

Quality is a reflection of how well we take care of patients. And this is measured by recording and reviewing patient outcomes, which simply means the results of a treatment or surgery. We report our patient outcomes to a number of third-party registries for both cardiology and cardiac surgery procedures, sharing our data in an effort to not only document, but also continually improve the care we provide.

UPMC participates in the leading cardiac surgery quality assessment program, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Adult Cardiac Surgery Database. UPMC exceeds the STS risk-adjusted benchmark for overall quality in coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), aortic valve replacement (AVR), and coronary artery bypass grafting with aortic valve replacement (CABG + AVR). Maining the highest standards of cardiac surgery care and patient outcomes is a top priority for the organization.

Ongoing Improvements

While UPMC has some of the highest outcome standards in the country, we continually look for ways to improve care and lead the profession in best practices. Sustaining excellence is incredibly hard work and requires a great attention to detail, and we're proud to share the following recent examples of our success:

  • Patients who stay on ventilation too long are at increased risk of adverse outcomes. UPMC standardized ventilation weening protocols and has been able to maintain excellent results since inception. 
  • One of the keys to a successful procedure or surgery is providing patients with appropriate medication. UPMC's adult cardiac surgery program has continually achieved near perfect results in ensuring that our patients receive timely and appropriate medication management. We are among the very best in the country in this measure.
  • Getting the right medication is important, but so is helping control costs for our patients. UPMC discovered that a certain medication was being widely prescribed during cardiac stenting procedures, and while the drug was safe, it cost hundreds of dollars more than another drug with equal effectiveness. By analyzing UPMC's National Cardiovascular Data Registry – Cath PCI data, doctors were able to appropriately decrease the use of the more expensive drug during a catheterization procedure without increasing the risk of bleeding, saving patients more money and reducing their time in the hospital.
  • By continually analyzing quality process measures, UPMC identified opportunities to decrease the amount of time it takes from when a patient is diagnosed with a heart attack to when blood flow to the heart is restored. The faster this happens, the better the outcome for the patient.

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