Failure to Rescue: A New Society of Thoracic Surgeons Quality Metric for Cardiac Surgery.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

The Annals of thoracic surgery


alaska; anchorage


BACKGROUND: Failure to rescue (FTR) focuses on the ability to prevent death among patients who experience postoperative complications. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Quality Measurement Task Force has developed a new, risk- adjusted FTR quality metric for adult cardiac surgery.

METHODS: The study population was taken from 1118 STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database participants including patients who underwent isolated CABG, aortic valve replacement +/- CABG, or mitral valve repair/replacement, +/- CABG between January, 2015 and June, 2019. The FTR analysis was derived from patients who experienced ≥ 1 of the following complications: prolonged ventilation, stroke, reoperation, and renal failure. Data were randomly split into 70% training (n=89,059) and 30% validation samples (n=38,242),Risk variables included STS predicted risk of mortality, operative procedures, and intraoperative variables (cardiopulmonary bypass and cross-clamp times, unplanned procedures, need for circulatory support, and massive transfusion).

RESULTS: Overall mortality for the for patients undergoing any of the index operations during the study period was 2.6% (27,045/1,058,138), with mortality of 0.9% (8,316/930,837), 8.0% (7,618/94,918), 30.6% (8,247/26,934), 51.9%(2,661/5,123), and 62.3% (203/326) among patients suffering none, one, two, three or four complications. FTR risk model calibration was excellent, as were model discrimination (c-statistic 0.806) and the Brier score (0.102). Using 95% Bayesian credible intervals, 62 (5.6%) participants performed worse and 53 (4.7%) participants performed better than expected.

CONCLUSIONS: A new risk-adjusted FTR metric has been developed which complements existing STS performance measures. The metric specifically assesses institutional effectiveness of postoperative care, allowing hospitals to target quality improvement efforts.

Clinical Institute

Cardiovascular (Heart)