Patients undergoing heart surgery are faring better at Pennsylvania hospitals.
The Times-Tribune of Scranton reports that mortality rates for patients who had bypass surgery have fallen by more than 20 percent over seven years, and mortality rates for those undergoing heart valve surgery went down by more than a third.
That's according to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.
Dr. Russell Stahl is chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Geisinger Community Medical Center. He says hospitals are operating on older, sicker patients, but surgical techniques have improved.
"Even though the risk profile of the patients we are asked to treat has gotten worse -- you know, older, sicker patients -- our techniques have gotten better," Stahl told the paper.
"And the surgeons in Pennsylvania, by in large, are very good surgeons."
Meanwhile, hospitals are performing fewer bypass operations. Experts say new techniques and surgeries give health care providers more ways to treat heart conditions.