The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Heart Center performs hundreds of heart surgeries each year. And because quality of care is our highest priority, we monitor our cardiac surgical and non-surgical outcomes and volumes to provide accurate and up-to-date information to patients and their families. Our focus on outcomes strengthens our mission is to continually improve and help our heart patients live healthy lives.
To support our commitment to transparency, we publicly report our outcomes on our website and through the U.S. News & World Report, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) and the Conquering CHD Hospital Navigator. We also submit data to various clinical data registries and collaboratives, which allows us to compare ourselves to other pediatric heart centers to continuously improve the outcomes for our patients.
The clinical data registries and collaboratives include:
- Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Congenital Heart Surgery Database for surgical outcomes. The STS has the largest congenital heart surgery database in the nation. Data from more than 100 hospitals is captured by STS to compare outcomes between heart programs across the country. We compare our outcomes to other STS pediatric heart surgery centers.
- Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium (PC4) data registry for all medical and surgical patients admitted to a cardiac intensive care unit (CICU).
- Pediatric Acute Care Cardiology Collaborative (PAC3) data registry for all patients in a cardiac acute care unit (CACU).
- National Pediatric Cardiology Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPC-QIC), which encompasses clinical process and outcomes data centered on the care of infants with single ventricle heart disease from prenatal diagnosis through their first year of life.
- Improving Pediatric and Adult Congenital Treatment (IMPACT) data registry for pediatric and adult CHD patients who undergo diagnostic catheterizations and catheter-based interventions.
- Clinical Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative (CNOC) clinical registry, a multicenter, multinational, collaborative data resource that works to optimize neurodevelopmental outcomes for individuals with pediatric and congenital heart disease.
- Pediatric Heart Transplant Society (PHTS), an international prospective, event-driven database for children undergoing heart transplantation.
Cardiac procedure volumes
Children’s data shows the number of procedures performed from January 2017 to December 2020.
Cardiothoracic surgery is any surgery related to or involving the organs in the chest, primarily the heart and the vessels that bring blood to and from the heart and lungs.
STAT category refers to a method of categorizing surgeries based on how risky or complex they are. STAT 1 surgeries include surgeries with the lowest risk of death, while STAT 5 surgeries have the highest risk of death. Examples include:
STAT 2: Ross procedure, Fontan procedure, tricuspid valve repair
STAT 3: Complete AV Canal (AVC) repair, Arterial Switch Operation (ASO)
STAT 4: Blalock-Taussig-Thomas (BTT) shunt, heart transplant, truncus arteriosus repair
STAT 5: Norwood procedure
Post-operative length of stay by STAT category
Children's data is based on surgeries performed from January 2017 to December 2020, and STS data is based on surgeries performed from January 2015 to December 2018, as reported in the fall 2019 STS Congenital Heart Surgery Database Report.
A heart catheterization is a nonsurgical procedure used to find out what kind of heart defect your child may have, its location in the heart and how severe it is. Some heart defects can be treated by a catheterization instead of heart surgery. Our cardiac catheterization team handles one of the largest volumes of pediatric heart catheterizations in the U.S. We offer a complete range of interventional cardiac procedures, including balloon valvuloplasty, angioplasty of vessels, stenting, atrial septal defect (ASD) and ventricular septal defect (VSD) occlusion, and transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement. In 2020, our cardiac catheterization team performed more than 1,100 catheterization procedures, including 650 interventional and 205 diagnostic procedures.
A central line, also known as a central venous line, or CVL, is a special type of intravenous line. A central line-associated bloodstream infection, or CLABSI, happens when bacteria, or more rarely fungus, grows in your child's central line or bloodstream. A CLABSI is serious and requires that your child get antibiotics immediately. If not handled correctly, it can even cause death. Your child's care team follows guidelines to help prevent your child from getting a CLABSI.
Throughout 2020 (December 2019 to November 2020), our Heart Center had a low rate of CLABSIs, performing much better than other pediatric hospitals that are also members of the Solutions for Patient Safety (SPS), a national children's network of hospitals sharing a common vision of preventing serious harm in hospitalized children. SPS is used as a benchmark to measure patient safety.
The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) performs assessments of transplant outcomes every six months by looking at the outcomes of patients who underwent transplant over two and a half years. According to the SRTR, our Heart Center has a better heart transplant survival rate than the national average.For heart transplants that were performed at the Children’s Heart Center between July 1, 2017 and Dec. 31, 2019, 96.43% of pediatric patients were alive with a functioning transplant one year after transplant, compared to a national average of 92.47%.
For heart transplants that were performed at the Children’s Heart Center between Jan. 1, 2015 and June 30, 2017, 95.74% of pediatric patients were alive with a functioning transplant three years after transplant, compared to a national average of 89.44%.
The following procedures are common cardiothoracic procedures used by STS to compare the performance of surgical centers across the country.
The Future of Pediatric Care
Over the next few years, we are building a new, state-of-the-art campus designed to improve outcomes, help clinicians deliver high-quality care and develop innovative research so that our patients can live healthier lives.