HealthGrades study: Bariatric surgery patients have fewer complications at high-volume hospitals

GOLDEN, Colo. (July 30, 2007) Bariatric surgery patients had 64 percent fewer complications and a 26 percent shorter hospital stay if they went to a five-star rated hospital compared with a one-star rated hospital, according to a new study released today by HealthGrades, the healthcare ratings company. The study of bariatric surgery outcomes at hospitals in 19 states over the years 2003 to 2005 also found that five-star rated hospitals those with better-than-average patient outcomes -- performed about twice the number of procedures compared with hospitals that rated poorly.

A clear trend away from traditional, more invasive gastric bypass to a less invasive laparoscopic procedure was also found in the study, according to the second annual HealthGrades Bariatric Surgery Trends in American Hospitals. Over 70 percent of the surgeries done in 2005 were laparoscopic, which are associated with fewer inhospital complications than traditional gastric bypass.

Bariatric surgery has been demonstrated to be highly effective for those with morbid obesity, but the relatively new procedures are not yet regulated or a credentialed surgical subspecialty, said Samantha Collier, MD., HealthGrades chief medical officer. So it is important that patients considering surgery know how hospitals rate.

The HealthGrades study analyzed 166,410 bariatric surgery procedures in the years 2003, 2004 and 2005 in the 19 states that collect and release all-payer outcomes data. Those states are: Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

HealthGrades quality ratings for bariatric surgery at individual hospitals in these 19 states were posted today to www.HealthGrades.com as a free resource for consumers. Each hospital receives a star rating based on their patient outcomes for bariatric surgery. Hospitals

Contact: Scott Shapiro

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