Skip to main content

News Release

For the Fifth Time Phoenix Children’s Earns Top Rating From The Society of Thoracic Surgeons’ Congenital Heart Surgery Database

On the heels of receiving a top 10 ranking for its heart surgery and cardiology programs from U.S. News & World Report, Phoenix Children’s has earned the top rating of three stars by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for the fifth time in a row. The newest rating is based on congenital cardiothoracic surgery outcomes data for the period from January 2014 through December 2017. The Cardiothoracic Surgery team at Phoenix Children's is one of just 12 programs in North America to earn this rating out of 119 participating programs.

“We want to be known as the safest surgical option for children who suffer from heart defects,” said Daniel Velez, MD, Division Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Phoenix Children's. “Earning this rating for the fifth time supports that in more ways than one, and helps give peace of mind to the families who trust us with their children’s heart surgeries.”

The STS star ratings are based on four years of congenital cardiothoracic surgery outcomes data, with the newest rating based on the period from January 2014 through December 2017. Earning three stars signifies Phoenix Children’s is performing statistically better than expected in patient outcomes given its patient case mix.

Star designations are measured on the overall risk-adjusted observed-to-expected operative morality ratio for all patients undergoing pediatric and/or congenital cardiac surgery, using the Congenital Heart Surgery Database (CHSD) mortality risk model. A one-star rating is given to programs with mortality rates statistically higher than expected, a two-star rating is given to programs with expected mortality, and a three-star rating is given to programs with lower-than-expected mortality rates. More details on STS star ratings are available here.

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.


Share this page