Children's Hospital Colorado

Outcomes at Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Heart Institute Rank Among Best in the Nation

Children's Hospital Colorado | October 15, 2019

Performing more than 500 cardiac surgeries and nearly 1,000 cardiac catheterizations per year, Children's Colorado's Heart Institute is not only the largest pediatric heart center in the Rocky Mountain region, it also meets or exceeds the national average* in the key benchmarks of quality and care.

Some highlights include:

  • The Cardiac Surgery Program’s overall survival rate for all cardiac surgery patients, regardless of surgical complexity, is 97.3%. The national average is 97.2%.
  • For the most complex neonatal surgeries, the Heart Institute's survival rate is 89.8%. This is more than 5 percentage points higher than the national average of 84.7%.
  • The average length of stay for surgery patients across all STAT categories is anywhere from 1 to 4 days fewer than the national average. (The STAT score analyzes the risk for mortality associated with congenital heart surgery procedures. Category 1 has the lowest mortality rates while Category 5 has the highest).
  • The Pediatric Heart Transplant Program is one of the largest and most experienced in the world with survival rates among the best anywhere. This includes a 100% survival rate at both 30 days and 1 year versus national averages of 97.7% and 93.8%, respectively.
  • The median time to transplant is 2.9 months as compared to a 6.8 month median for the region and an 8.4 month median nationally.
  • The Cardiac Catheterization Program is just 1 of 3 in the country to receive the InterSocietal Accreditation Commission’s seal of approval.

Changing the outlook for patients with congenital heart disease from bleak to bright

“When Oliver was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, we were distraught and deeply saddened by how the doctors saw his future,” said Becca Kalivas, mother of 2-year-old Oliver (pictured above). “It wasn’t until we met with doctors at Children’s Colorado that we began to feel hopeful. Not only are their outcomes better than others in the region, the team of doctors, nurses, social workers and therapists of all kinds helped us see that Oliver’s future was bright.”

Not all hospitals report outcomes from their heart procedures, so it can be difficult for patients and their families to make informed decisions when choosing a hospital to care for their child and their child’s specific condition. The Heart Institute is trying to change that.

Reporting outcomes can improve them

“We believe open, honest reporting and dialogue are key to improving outcomes for all patients. We have to be open and transparent within our own walls and with patients and families,” said Jim Jaggers, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon and co-medical director the Heart Institute at Children’s Colorado. “In the end, the measure that matters most to all of us at Children’s Hospital Colorado is the long and productive lives our patients go on to lead."

Children’s Colorado combines medical expertise with state-of-the-art technology and comprehensive pediatric cardiology research. The Heart Institute team’s expertise in critical areas of heart care, such as cardiac surgery, cardiac anesthesia, intensive care, fetal diagnostics, cardiac imaging and exercise physiology, contributes to these excellent outcomes.

Learn more about our above national average pediatric cardiac surgery survival rates, pediatric heart transplant outcomes and commitment to quality and patient safety.

*The national cardiac surgery averages highlighted are from the  Society of Thoracic Surgeons Congenital Heart Surgery Database as of July 2019.