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Surgery survival rates improve

Doctors have not been deterred from attempting high-risk operations, according to the publication of heart surgery survival rates which show a marginal improvement in the UK.

New figures published by the Healthcare Commission showed that the national survival rate for all types of heart operations between April 2006 and March 2007 stood at 96.6%, up 0.1% on the previous year’s figure. Heart surgery became the first speciality to publish information on survival in 2006.

A breakdown of surgery at 37 heart units across the UK revealed that survival rates at 32 units were “as expected” and five were “better than expected”. These were Leeds General Infirmary, Morriston Hospital Swansea, Southampton General Hospital, University Hospital of Wales and Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester.

“Some feared that surgeons may take on fewer high-risk operations, but this has not proved to be the case. In fact the opposite is true,” said Professor Sir Ian Kennedy, chairman of the Healthcare Commission.

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“It is important for other specialities to recognise the benefits to patients that making this information available brings and to consider making information on their patients’ outcomes available.”

More than 35,000 heart operations were performed between April 2006 and March 2007, the Healthcare Commission said. Doctors carried out 20,474 heart bypasses and 98.32% of patients survived.

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