The Appropriateness of Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery in Academic Medical Centers

Published in: Annals of Internal Medicine, v. 125, no. 1, July 1996, p. 8-18

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1996

by Lucian L. Leape, Lee H. Hilborne, J. Sanford Schwartz, David W. Bates, Haya R. Rubin, Peter Slavin, Rolla Edward Park, David M. Witter, Robert J. Panzer, Robert H. Brook

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OBJECTIVE: To compare the appropriateness of use of coronary artery bypass graft [CABG] surgery in Academic Medical Center Consortium hospitals as judged 1) according to criteria developed by an expert panel, 2) according to revisions of those criteria made by cardiac surgeons from the Academic Medical Center Consortium, and 3) by review of cases by the surgeons responsible for those cases. DESIGN: Retrospective, randomized medical record review. SETTING: 12 Academic Medical Center Consortium hospitals. PATIENTS: Random sample of 1156 patients who had had isolated CABG surgery in 1990. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: 1] Percentage of patients with indications for which CABG surgery was classified as appropriate, inappropriate, or of uncertain appropriateness and 2) percentage of cases in which CABG surgery was judged inappropriate or uncertain for which ratings changed after local case review. RESULTS: Data were retrieved from medical records by trained abstractors using an explicit data collection instrument. Cases in which CABG surgery was judged to be inappropriate or uncertain were individually reviewed by the responsible surgeons. According to the expert panel ratings, 83% of the CABG operations (95% CI, 81% to 85%) were necessary, 9% (CI, 8% to 10%) were appropriate, 7% (CI, 5% to 8%) were uncertain, and 1.6% (CI, 0.6% to 2.5%) were inappropriate. These rates are almost identical to those found in a previous study that was done in New York State and that used the same criteria (in that study, 91% of operations were classified as necessary or appropriate, 7% were classified as uncertain, and 2.4% were classified as inappropriate). Rates of inappropriate procedures varied from 0% to 5% among the 12 member hospitals (P = 0.02).

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