U.S. News & World Report editors teamed up with theheart.org and Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. to survey cardiologists on their opinions of the safety and effectiveness of angioplasty when provided at hospitals where no heart surgeons are available to deal with complications. Cardiologists were asked 10 questions related to a study presented at an American Heart Association meeting showing that the procedure was equally safe at hospitals with and without heart surgery.
The questions were distributed to more than 17,000 cardiologists. (Doctors also had the option to submit additional comments.) Here are the questions and the results, based on responses from 350 cardiologists:
1. Do you believe non-primary angioplasty can be performed safely and effectively at hospitals that lack on-site cardiac surgery?
In responding, assume a properly developed angioplasty program, adherence to strict inclusion and exclusion criteria for patients and devices, annual volume of at least 200 angioplasties, AHA/ACC-qualified cardiologists performing angioplasty procedures, and outcomes monitoring.
2. If you responded No to Question 1, select up to three of the following to explain why. If you responded Yes to Question 1, please leave this blank.
3. Who should define which hospitals should have angioplasty capability?
4. Should outcomes monitoring and public reporting be mandated for all sites performing angioplasty?
5. If you support outcomes monitoring, who should be responsible?
6. Should hospitals with below-standard outcomes be subject to review and improvement plans?
7. Should hospitals with consistently bad results lose their angioplasty capability?
8. Why do you think there is a push to allow angioplasty at more hospitals without on-site surgery?
9. Do you have privileges at a hospital that does angioplasty:
10. What kind of hospital do you work at/with the most?