Upstate heart surgeon among best in state, with one of the lowest death rates

Gregory Fink MD

Upstate University Hospital’s Gregory Fink MD has one of the lowest death rates in the state for open heart surgery. For three years running, the chief of cardiac surgery has had the best survival rate compared with other heart surgeons in Syracuse and has garnered headlines in The Post-Standard newspaper when the New York State Department of Health releases data about heart surgery programs across the state.

From 2008 to 2010, Fink performed 239 heart bypass and valve operations; his risk-adjusted mortality rate was .48 percent, compared with the statewide average of 2.94 percent. The scores are risk-adjusted to account for how healthy patients are when they seek heart surgery. Fink is among 13 surgeons in New York whose mortality rates are statistically lower than average.

Upstate’s rate for the same three-year period was .70 percent. The other Syracuse hospital that offers open heart surgery, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, had a rate of 1.26 percent.

In the period from 2007 to 2009, Fink operated on 274 patients and was one of 12 surgeons in the state with a significantly lower-than-average mortality rate. From 2006 to 2008, Fink operated on 252 patients and was one of four surgeons in the state with a significantly lower-than average mortality rate.

Fink said low mortality rates reflect more than a surgeon’s skill. He is supported by an experienced team of cardiac anesthesiologists, nurses and other professionals. “We also have an aggressive quality improvement program,” he told the newspaper in January 2011. By focusing on a team approach, “it has really paid off for the patients.”

The health department’s news release.

The Syracuse Post-Standard article.

How to reach Dr. Fink: 315-464-1800.

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