A 3-star rating for Heart Surgery

HARLINGEN — Harlingen Medical Center has received the highest possible rating for performing heart bypass surgeries from an international organization, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

The award-winning and nationally-recognized hospital is the only hospital in Cameron County to receive the “3-Star” rating for Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) surgery.

The “3-Star” rating means that Harlingen Medical Center continues to be considered in the top tier in the country for heart surgery centers.

“Earning this recognition from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons — for a third time — is a testament to the quality of patient care which our thoracic surgeons and their supporting teams deliver during each patient encounter,” said Brenda Ivory, President and Chief Executive Officer at Harlingen Medical Center. “I am proud to be a member of this team that is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of the patients we serve.”

“We have a common goal here at Harlingen Medical Center, and that is to ensure the best possible outcome for our patients,” added Dr. Daniel Martinez, Board-Certified Cardiovascular Surgeon. “The cardiologists, the cardiovascular surgeons and clinical staff are all committed to our patients and their well-being.”

The 3-Star rating indicates that patient outcomes and bypass surgery performance are statistically better at Harlingen Medical Center than the national mean.

The rating is derived from a combination of 11 different processes and outcome measures for coronary artery bypass surgery which are recommended by the National Quality Forum, a non-profit organization which works to improve the quality of healthcare in the United States.

The national measures rate the performance of heart surgery programs in various areas, including avoidance of death and major complications; appropriate use of medications before, during and after surgery; and using the best possible blood vessel (the internal mammary artery) during bypass surgery.

The comprehensive rating system uses the largest single specialty database in the United States, with 1,100 hospitals participating and analysis of more than five million patient records.

According to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, Harlingen Medical Center is among the top 10 percent of U.S. hospitals who received the top-tier rating of three stars for 2015. Hospitals which have average ratings receive two stars, while hospitals which score below average receive one star.

A patient may need heart bypass surgery if blood flow to their heart becomes blocked by “plaque”, a waxy substance that forms inside blood vessels, often as a result of a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet.

During the surgery, experienced cardiovascular surgeons at Harlingen Medical Center re-route a blood vessel to “bypass” the damaged artery.

This allows blood and oxygen to once again reach the heart muscle – and reduces the risk of the patient suffering a heart attack.