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Fewer Patients Receiving Heart Bypass Surgery in High-volume Hospitals

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: July 5, 2006

The percentage of patients who underwent coronary artery bypass graft surgery, also known as CABG, in high-volume hospitals fell from 63 percent in 1997 to 41 percent in 2003, according to a new report by the Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). AHRQ tracked data on 10 surgical procedures because research suggests that patients undergoing certain operations are more likely to have better outcomes when the operations are done in hospitals where their type of procedure is performed frequently.

The report found that:

  • In 2003, about 45,000 more patients nationwide had CABG in low-volume hospitals compared with 1997.
  • The percentage of patients who underwent abdominal aortic aneurysm repair in high-volume hospitals also declined, from 53 percent to 38 percent.
  • In contrast, the percentage of patients who underwent procedures for cerebral aneurysms in high-volume hospitals increased from 35 percent to 53 percent.
  • The percentages of patients who underwent the seven other procedures in high-volume hospitals tracked by AHRQ did not change significantly between 1997 and 2003. These procedures were:
    • Carotid endarterectomy.
    • Lower extremity arterial bypass.
    • Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA).
    • Heart transplantation.
    • Pediatric heart surgery.
    • Pancreatic cancer surgery.
    • Esophageal cancer surgery.

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on selected statistics in Procedures in U.S. Hospitals, 2003 available at The report also includes data on changes in complication rates, in-hospital death rates, patient demographics, and hospital charges as well as other key information regarding inpatient procedures.

For more information on this data, or to speak with an HCUP data expert, contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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