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Heart Surgery at Phoenix Children’s Earns Three Stars for the Sixth Time

For the sixth time in a row, Phoenix Children’s has earned the top rating of three stars by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS). The newest rating is based on congenital cardiothoracic surgery outcomes data for the period from July 2014 to June 2018. The Cardiothoracic Surgery team at Phoenix Children's is one of just 10 programs in North America to earn this rating out of 118 participating programs.

 “We’re so happy to be one of the 10 programs to get three stars,” said Daniel Velez, MD, Division Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Phoenix Children’s. “As a larger, pediatric  cardiothoracic surgery program, it is rare to be recognized for better-than-expected outcomes, and we continue to – now going on the sixth time. We’re proud of the work we do at Phoenix Children’s, and we’re thrilled that our work and dedication to patients and families is recognized.”

The STS star ratings are based on four years of congenital cardiothoracic surgery outcomes data, and compares benchmarked outcomes throughout the United States and Canada. The designations measure on the overall risk-adjusted observed-to-expected operative morality ratio for all patients undergoing pediatric and/or congenital cardiac surgery, which uses the Congenital Heart Surgery Database (CHSD) mortality risk model.

One star ratings are designated to programs with statistically higher operative mortality rates than expected. A two-star rating is awarded to programs with as expected mortality rates, and a three-star award is earned by programs that have lower-than-expected mortality rates. More details on STS star ratings are available here.

This rating demonstrates that Phoenix Children’s performs statistically better than expected in patient outcomes given its patient case mix.

“We take pride in our outcomes,” said Dr. Velez. “They’re absolutely one of the most important factors that should go into any parent’s decision on where to take their child. This validates our proven track record successfully performing difficult surgeries on children with congenital heart defects.”

About Phoenix Children’s

Phoenix Children’s Hospital is Arizona’s only children’s hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For 35 years Phoenix Children's has provided world-class inpatient, outpatient, trauma, emergency and urgent care to children and families in Arizona and throughout the Southwest. As one of the largest children’s hospitals in the country, Phoenix Children’s delivers care across more than 75 pediatric specialties. Recognized specifically for its patient-focused innovation, medical education, growth and research, Phoenix Children’s was named Business of the Year and Exceptional Innovator by the Greater Phoenix Chamber in 2018. For more information about the hospital, visit

About STS

Founded in 1964, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons is a not-for-profit organization representing more than 7,500 cardiothoracic surgeons, researchers, and allied health care professionals worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest. The Society’s mission is to enhance the ability of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide the highest quality patient care through education, research, and advocacy.


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