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Kids Who Need Heart Surgery May Fare Better at Busier Hospitals
Date:1/9/2012

er volume hospitals tend to have better outcomes, particularly for more complex cases," Pasquali said. "Volume is not the only important factor and that there are smaller hospitals with outcomes comparable to those at larger centers. Overall, a hospital's past track record with similar types of cases may be the best information to consider rather than relying upon the volume of the center alone."

Dr. Rubin Cooper, chief of pediatric cardiology at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., said high-volume centers are not always an option based on where a patient lives and the urgency of the surgery.

"There aren't that many centers that do so much," Cohen said. "High-volume centers may have more tools and more surveillance, but low-volume centers all have board-certified people who are trained to know what they can and can't do, and they certainly would refer a case that they could not handle. Some children do need highly specialized centers if they have a rare condition." However, he added, "I would say as many as 80 percent of pediatric heart patients can be treated by nearly all of the programs."

More information

Visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health to learn more about pediatric heart surgery.

SOURCES: Sara K. Pasquali, M.D., director, pediatric cardiovascular outcomes, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; Rubin Cooper, M.D., chief, pediatric cardiology, Cohen Children's Medical Center, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; February 2012 Pediatrics


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