Harvard Heart Letter

Mixed marks for heart surgery report cards

Grading heart surgeons on how well their patients do is a good idea, but the process still needs some work.

In a growing number of states, report cards that rate cardiac surgeons on the outcomes of their patients are now available. So far, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts have posted this information for all to see; Florida and California are expected to follow suit in 2007.

For people who need to have coronary artery bypass graft surgery, aneurysm repair, valve replacement, or another operation, the obvious smart thing to do is find the surgeon with the lowest mortality rates, right?

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