The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Congenital Heart Surgery database mortality risk model: Part 1 - Statistical methodology

Sean M. O'Brien, Jeffrey P. Jacobs, Sara K. Pasquali, J. William Gaynor, Tara Karamlou, Karl F. Welke, Giovanni Filardo, Jane M. Han, Sunghee Kim, David M. Shahian, Marshall L. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background This study's objective was to develop a risk model incorporating procedure type and patient factors to be used for case-mix adjustment in the analysis of hospital-specific operative mortality rates after congenital cardiac operations. Methods Included were patients of all ages undergoing cardiac operations, with or without cardiopulmonary bypass, at centers participating in The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Congenital Heart Surgery Database during January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2013. Excluded were isolated patent ductus arteriosus closures in patients weighing less than or equal to 2.5 kg, centers with more than 10% missing data, and patients with missing data for key variables. Data from the first 3.5 years were used for model development, and data from the last 0.5 year were used for assessing model discrimination and calibration. Potential risk factors were proposed based on expert consensus and selected after empirically comparing a variety of modeling options. Results The study cohort included 52,224 patients from 86 centers with 1,931 deaths (3.7%). Covariates included in the model were primary procedure, age, weight, and 11 additional patient factors reflecting acuity status and comorbidities. The C statistic in the validation sample was 0.858. Plots of observed-vs-expected mortality rates revealed good calibration overall and within subgroups, except for a slight overestimation of risk in the highest decile of predicted risk. Removing patient preoperative factors from the model reduced the C statistic to 0.831 and affected the performance classification for 12 of 86 hospitals. Conclusions The risk model is well suited to adjust for case mix in the analysis and reporting of hospital-specific mortality for congenital heart operations. Inclusion of patient factors added useful discriminatory power and reduced bias in the calculation of hospital-specific mortality metrics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1054-1062
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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