Current quality reporting methods are not adequate for salvage cardiac operations.

Abstract

Outcomes in cardiac surgery are benchmarked against national Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) data and include patients undergoing elective, urgent, emergent, and salvage operations. This practice relies on accurate risk adjustment to avoid risk-averse behavior. We hypothesize that the STS risk calculator does not adequately characterize the risk of salvage operations because of their heterogeneity and infrequent occurrence.