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Excela Health Rated Among Nation’s Top Cardiac Hospitals, Offering More Advanced Options for Heart Care

Excela Health Rated Among Nation’s Top Cardiac Hospitals, Offering More Advanced Options for Heart Care

New Benchmarks In Complexity of Care Thanks to Clinical Expertise, Technology 

GREENSBURG, PA, February 2023 … Patients in need of heart care are increasingly sicker when they initially seek evaluation at Excela Health. Regardless of the severity of their heart disease, they can expect expert clinicians and advanced treatment options from the Heart Center at Excela Westmoreland Hospital, which is ranked among the nation’s top hospitals for cardiac care.

          Excela Westmoreland is rated among America’s best for cardiac care and surgery by Healthgrades in its Top 100 and Top 50 designations. For the second consecutive year, Excela has been lauded for superior clinical outcomes in heart bypass surgery, coronary interventional procedures, heart attack and heart failure treatment, as well as heart valve repair.

           Most recently, Healthgrades also named Excela Westmoreland one of 35 Top Hospitals for Cardiac Surgery as part of its State Hospitals Rankings List. Healthgrades evaluated the clinical performance of 4,500 hospitals nationwide before singling out 431 hospitals in 34 states.  Excela Westmoreland is one of nearly three dozen hospitals across nine states to receive the Cardiac Surgery specialty award, and one of only five in Pennsylvania to achieve Healthgrades 5-star rating for this specialty.

           To measure performance for this latest distinction, Healthgrades used Medicare inpatient data from the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) file purchased from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for years 2018 through 2020. Patient outcomes data for 16 conditions or procedures were analyzed for virtually every hospital in the country. Hospital performance in these conditions formed the base of the final Specialty Excellence Award and State Ranking results.

            Specifically, the Cardiac Surgery specialty award recognizes hospitals with superior clinical outcomes in heart bypass surgery and heart valve surgery.

            “Our patient population is outpacing the national average when it comes to the need for open heart surgery,” noted Excela Health cardiothoracic surgeon Hiroyuki Tsukui, MD, PhD, medical director of the health system’s program. “Age and lifestyle play a part, but the COVID pandemic also contributed as patients delayed seeking medical attention, often to their detriment.” 

             Over the past year, Excela’s cardiothoracic surgeons performed nearly 400 open heart surgeries, including Impella heart pump implants to help those patients with coronary artery disease, those recovering from cardiogenic shock, and individuals waiting for a heart transplant.

            As the complexity of cases has expanded, so, too, has the spectrum of procedures being offered. During 2022, Excela Health heart specialists surpassed more than 190 transcatheter aortic valve replacements and 200 WATCHMAN implants to wean patients from blood thinners.  Both are reflective of Excela Health’s growth in tertiary capabilities.

            Later this year, Excela heart surgeons will also begin using robotic technology for bypass and mitral valve surgery.

            Excela’s cardiothoracic surgeons are no strangers to high quality ratings, as they are similarly recognized by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), which ranks the health system’s heart surgery program among the top 2 percent nationwide.

           This honor comes in the form of a distinguished three-star rating from STS for patient care and outcomes in three separate categories: aortic valve replacement combined with coronary artery bypass grafting (AVR+CABG), isolated aortic valve replacement (AVR), and isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).  Historically, less that 10 percent of all programs within the STS database achieve this elite standing.

           The three-star rating denotes the highest category of clinical quality within the STS rating system, and is considered one of the most sophisticated and highly regarded overall measures of quality in healthcare, rating the benchmarked outcomes of cardiothoracic surgery programs in the United States and Canada. The star rating is calculated using a combination of quality measures for specific procedures performed by an STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database participant.

            This growing list of procedures continues to expand utilization of Westmoreland’s hybrid catheterization lab. This state-of-the-art hybrid suite allows interventional cardiologists, radiologists and cardiac and vascular surgeons to work together in one room to perform traditional diagnostic functions of a cardiac catheterization lab or interventional radiology suites, combined with traditional surgical functions of the operating room.  Its real-time intraoperative image guidance systems provide unparalleled imaging capabilities in the operating room itself -- before, during and after the procedure. For patients, that can translate into a shorter procedure, less post-operative recovery time and less risk for complications.   

Key to these varied accomplishments are cardiothoracic surgeons Hiroyuki Tsukui, MD, PhD, Michael H. Culig, MD, MMM, and Mitsugu Ogawa, MD, well as a robust team of electrophysiologists, interventional and noninvasive cardiologists who are part of the expanding complement of physicians and advanced practice providers within the Heart, Lung and Vascular Institute.

             Excela Health remains committed to share its results in a transparent way because it allows patients the opportunity to validate the clinical expertise of their community healthcare team against concrete measures for excellence. Excela Health has continued to enhance its program, adding clinical expertise and technology that consistently exceeds benchmarking standards for patient outcomes.

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