February Is American Heart Month: How Can We Make Heart Surgery Safer?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 5 deaths in the US could be attributed to heart disease in 2020. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in America, and approximately 20 million adults have the most common form, Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). CAD does not spare the young; 20% of sufferers are under the age of 65.

The prevalence of CAD means that the most common heart surgery is coronary artery bypass grafting. In 2018, 200,000 people had this procedure, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Valve replacement and repair is second on the list, with around 110,000 surgeries performed in 2018. Pre-pandemic, approximately 24,000 heart surgeries were being conducted each month, according to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons

February is American Heart Month because greater awareness for heart health remains critical. As we care for those with cardiac issues, what is the ideal? As the need for heart surgery continues, how can we make it safer?

The Ideal: Improving Heart Health & Awareness

Everyone agrees: The ideal scenario for cardiac care would be an improvement in the overall heart health of the American public. Awareness is the first step. Diabetes, being overweight, physical inactivity, poor eating habits, and excessive alcohol consumption put people at a higher risk for heart disease. Smoking, having high blood pressure, and having high blood cholesterol also are key contributors to the development of heart disease.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has created a resource toolkit to help organizations spread the word about habits that can improve heart health. The more that people know and put into practice regarding their stress level, lifestyle, dietary habits, and physical activity, the more they will be able to reduce their risks for heart disease.

While the hope is that lifestyle choices and participation in preventative care will improve, the fact is that many people will still develop heart disease — and some will need surgery. 

How Can We Make Heart Surgery Safer?

Heart surgery becomes safer when clinicians are well-trained, well-supported, and have the equipment they need to operate efficiently. Your OR should have the staff, resources, and processes required to function at a high level of focus and efficiency for every cardiac surgery.

At SpecialityCare, it’s our mission to make surgery safer. As experts in perfusion, we help hospitals around the country improve patient outcomes. In fact, as the largest provider of perfusion services, we support 1 in 8 heart surgeries across the US every year.

We can support your OR by placing experienced perfusionists who are well-trained in evidence-based practices for perfusion and related procedures. We can also provide best-in-class equipment, hands-on management to ensure patient safety, clinical-level data reports, and the opportunity to institute life support programs, destination therapy programs, hyperthermia programs, and other courses of treatment.

If you’re interested in making heart surgery safer at your hospital, get in touch with us to find out more about how we can help. From perfusion to ECMO, sterile processing, autotransfusion, surgical assist and more, SpecialtyCare is ready to help your OR become more efficient and improve patient outcomes.