Background: Risk-adjusted operative mortality is the most important quality metric in cardiac surgery for determining The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Composite Score for star ratings. Accurate 30-day status is required to determine STS operative mortality. The goal of this study was to determine the effect of unknown or missing 30-day status on risk-adjusted operative mortality in a regional STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database cooperative and demonstrate the ability to correct these deficiencies by matching with an administrative database. Methods: STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database data were submitted by 27 hospitals from five hospital systems to the Texas Quality Initiative (TQI), a regional quality collaborative. TQI data were matched with a regional hospital claims database to resolve unknown 30-day status. The risk-adjusted operative mortality observed-to-expected (O/E) ratio was determined before and after matching to determine the effect of unknown status on the operative mortality O/E. Results: TQI found an excessive (22%) unknown 30-day status for STS isolated coronary artery bypass grafting cases. Matching the TQI data to the administrative claims database reduced the unknowns to 7%. The STS process of imputing unknown 30-day status as alive underestimates the true operative mortality O/E (1.27 before vs 1.30 after match), while excluding unknowns overestimates the operative mortality O/E (1.57 before vs 1.37 after match) for isolated coronary artery bypass grafting. Conclusions: The current STS algorithm of imputing unknown 30-day status as alive and a strategy of excluding cases with unknown 30-day status both result in erroneous calculation of operative mortality and operative mortality O/E. However, external validation by matching with an administrative database can improve the accuracy of clinical databases such as the STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine