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