SMH Performs Record-setting 1,000th Heart Surgery of the Year

SMH Performs Record-setting 1,000th Heart Surgery of the Year

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

SARASOTA (Oct. 10, 2018) – Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s heart team performed its 1,000th surgery of the year in September, setting a record for the number of surgical heart procedures performed at the hospital in just one year. 

The team also demonstrated record-setting outcomes in 2018, achieving the Society of Thoracic Surgeons’ highest quality ranking for adult heart surgeries.

“To achieve these kinds of results demonstrates not only organizational commitment but also a strong collaboration and respect among SMH’s surgeons and cardiologists,” said SMH CEO David Verinder.

In 2012, SMH partnered with Columbia University Medical Center in New York to help build its cardiac care program and recruit a chief of cardiovascular surgery. SMH recruited Jeffrey Sell, MD, in 2013 to serve as SMH’s chief of cardiovascular surgery. He helped recruit two more cardiac surgeons and to expand the specialty services the team provides. Together, the five-surgeon team treats a full range of conditions, with subspecialties that range from coronary bypass and arrhythmia treatment, to complex aortic valve replacement, mitral valve replacement and repair, and adult congenital heart surgery. 

With Dr. Sell at the helm, cardiac surgery volumes increased 15 to 20 percent each year. Annual volumes have more than doubled since 2012, from 393 that year to 1,015 in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. Those numbers include transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVRs) performed by four interventional cardiologists in the hospital’s hybrid operating room, a state-of-the-art operating room that allows specially trained cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to collaborate and perform complex procedures on high- and intermediate-risk heart patients. 

In addition to the surgical volumes, SMH’s nearly 40 community-based cardiologists performed more than 6,000 catheter-based procedures and assessed more than 15,000 cardiac ultrasounds performed by the hospital’s cardiac technologists over the past year.

SMH’s heart program has also demonstrated exceptional patient results, according to benchmark data provided by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) quality database and a review by Consumer Reports. SMH was listed as a top performer for patient outcomes in the July issue of the consumer magazine – only 18 of nearly 500 hospitals evaluated earned top scores from Consumer Reports in both valve replacement and bypass surgery, the two most common types of heart surgery.

Consumer Reports based its analysis on the national STS database. In 2018, SMH is among only three cardiac programs in the United States and Canada that earned STS’s highest 3-Star rating for patient care and outcomes in all five adult cardiac surgery procedures measured:

  • Isolated Coronary Artery Bypass (CABG)
  • Isolated Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR)
  • AVR + CABG
  • Isolated Mitral Valve Replacement/Repair (MVRR)

The 3-star ratings, which denote the highest category of quality, place SMH’s cardiac surgery team among the top performers of more than 1,000 cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiac surgery groups voluntarily submitting case records to the STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database for analysis and comparison with benchmarking data for quality improvement initiatives. The latest analysis of data spans three years: CABG (July 2016-June 2017); AVR, AVR/CABG, MVRR and MVRR/CABG (July 2014-June 2017).


This summer, Sarasota Memorial’s overall heart program was the first in Florida and fourth in the nation to receive the American Heart Association’s Cardiovascular Center of Excellence accreditation, a comprehensive level of designation for cardiovascular care. The recognition reflects the wider system of care, including collaboration with community-based cardiologists, early patient and community engagement, and sustained delivery of guideline-driven, evidence-based care — to improve the outcomes of patients affected by cardiovascular disease. 

About Sarasota Memorial
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of care, with more than 900,000 patient visits a year. Sarasota Memorial’s flagship 829-bed acute care hospital has been recognized repeatedly as one of the nation’s largest, and best, with superior patient outcomes and a complete continuum of outpatient services– from urgent care clinics and physician groups, laboratory and diagnostic imaging centers, to home health and skilled nursing & rehabilitation.