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Consumer Reports says NSMC Heart Surgery is Among Top 50 in the Nation

North Shore Medical Center’s (NSMC) heart surgery program has been recognized as one of the top 50 in the U.S. The ranking comes from Consumer Reports, the same group that is well known for ranking cars and major appliances. Four groups in Massachusetts -- doctors affiliated with NSMC as well as Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston Medical Center, and Mount Auburn Hospital -- earned the survey’s highest rating.

“NSMC’s cardiac surgery program is saving lives in a way no other North Shore hospital can,” said Thomas Vander Salm, M.D., chief of cardiovascular surgery at NSMC. “This ranking is recognition of that vital role and how hard we work to do it well. It’s a big honor.” 

Consumer Reports Health collaborated with The Society of Thoracic Surgeons to publish its ratings of 221 surgical groups in the U.S. that perform standard heart bypass operations known as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). The ratings are based on 11 standardized measures that fall into four categories. Two of them—recommended medications and optimal surgical technique—reflect how well surgeons adhere to the best-established practices.  The other two—patient survival and the absence of surgical complications—reflect how their patients fare. 

NSMC is one of only three community hospitals in the Commonwealth with a cardiac surgery program, and the only one on the North Shore. The cardiac surgery program is an integral part of the NSMC Heart Center, which provides comprehensive care, including angioplasty (percutaneous coronary intervention) and sophisticated heart disease diagnosis and management. NSMC surgeons hold joint appointments at Mass General and NSMC, and perform advanced life-saving cardiac procedures. 

Among those who owe their lives to the NSMC cardiac surgery program is Scott McAllister of Marblehead. This summer McAllister was jogging along the beach when he suffered a heart attack. A nearby lifeguard performed CPR and paramedics were able to get him to NSMC quickly, where he received angioplasty to get blood flowing to his heart again. A short time later, heart surgeons performed heart bypass surgery to clear what they describe as a complete blockage of McAllister’s main artery to his heart. 

“The fact that we have cardiac surgeons on site saves lives,” said David Roberts, M.D., chief of cardiology at NSMC. “As this survey shows us, the caliber of our surgeons and our program is among the best in the country.”

 There are more than 1,000 surgical groups in the U.S. that perform heart bypass surgery and approximately 90 percent of those groups voluntarily submit their performance data to the STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database.  A little less than one quarter of those groups (221) agreed to allow Consumer Reports Health to publish their results. 
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