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Honest Hospitals Vs. Dishonest Hospitals

Apparently, many poor-quality hospital executives are graduates of the “Vladamir Putin School of Propaganda,” where they were taught that if a bad fact isn’t reported, it can be ignored.  

Man dressed up wearing oversized presidential head and oversized hands that are gloves.

So What Facts Are Some Hospitals Conveniently Forgetting To Report? 

According to a study by the University of Michigan Medical School, many hospitals routinely underreport strokes after minimally invasive aortic valve replacement.  

This is a sensitive topic for me. 

I had an aortic valve replacement and a minor stroke after surgery.

Not surprisingly, the best hospitals for aortic valve replacement also have comprehensive stroke treatment centers.  These hospitals (including the one that treated me), carefully monitor patients for post-surgical stroke and report all strokes (minor and major).

On the other hand, hospitals that should not be performing aortic valve replacements (open heart or minimally invasive) don’t have comprehensive stroke treatment centers and systematically don’t look for strokes, don’t treat minor strokes, and don’t report accurate stroke statistics. 

So based on the statistics, the worst hospitals report the best post-surgical stroke risk results and the best hospitals have the worst statistics.  

A white wall with the words Misleading Data written on it. next to a potted plant.

Specifically, the type of aortic valve replacement where some hospitals underreport strokes is the TAVR type procedure (which is a relatively new procedure).  

How much are the stroke statistics being manipulated?  

While overall stroke risk is low for aortic valve replacement (of any type), hospitals that monitor and treat strokes comprehensively report more than 221% higher stroke risk than hospitals that are not comprehensive stroke centers.  Obviously, that is a massive underreporting of strokes.  

Three of the same cartoon men with hands over eye, hands in ears, and hands over mouth.

What You Need To Know

Cardiac patients are at risk of stroke.  Because of cardiac issues, I had a stroke, my brother had a stroke, and a cardiac-induced stroke killed my father.  If you have cardiac issues, seek care at a comprehensive stroke center hospital, and talk to your cardiologist about stroke risk.  

Check the underlying data before deciding to have a non-emergency invasive cardiac procedure.  If the hospital publishes statistics that appear far better than other hospitals in your area, do not take these statistics at face value.  Particularly, if the statistic is stroke-related and the hospital is not a comprehensive stroke center.  

Don’t Avoid Aortic Valve Replacement Because Of Stroke Risk

Stroke risk exists, but for the vast majority of patients, it is a much lower risk than not having the procedure.  I had full open-heart surgery (there was a lot wrong with my heart), survived, and am thriving.  However, I did my research and went to the best facility in the world for my operation.  If I had gone to a local facility that did not specialize in my type of case, given the complexity of my operation and post-surgery complications, I am confident I would have died.  I had many issues, and my surgery was 14 1/2 hours long.  So, my advice is to be intentional and careful about your choices for healthcare.  Your life depends upon doing your research.  

And, please do not get tricked into believing that a facility is of high quality when it is lying about its statistics.  

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