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Lung Cancer Surgery Program Rated Among Best in the Nation

The lung cancer surgery program at Rush University Medical Center has received three stars — the highest rating possible — from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, an honor given to only the top 5 percent of thoracic surgery programs in the United States and Canada. Released every six months, the 3-star rating has been awarded to Rush a total of eight consecutive times since 2015 when the star ratings were established.

The rating is for a procedure called lobectomy, the removal of a portion of the lung. It’s based on outcomes data the Society of Thoracic Surgeons received from Rush for the period from January 2015 to December 2017, in comparison with similar data the society has received from other participating programs.

“This objective, three-star rating firmly establishes the lung cancer surgery program at Rush as one of the best in the nation, where thoracic surgeons perform the largest number of these operations of any surgical group in Chicago and, in most cases, use minimally invasive techniques that speed recovery,” said Michael Liptay, MD, chairman of the department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic surgery, and program director of the cardiothoracic surgery residency program. “Rush is the only 3-star program in Chicago and one of only two 3-star programs in the Midwest that publically reports their outcomes.”

It is the fourth consecutive year that the Rush Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery has received the “3-Star Program” rating for its patient care and lung cancer resection outcomes.

“Our care team in lung cancer surgery continues to push back the frontiers of medicine, both in the clinic with new minimally-invasive techniques, and in the laboratory, developing a blood-based assay to detect early-stage lung cancer and identify patients,” said Liptay.

The ratings for lobectomy are based on the General Thoracic Surgery Database (GTSD), which is part of a larger national database that the STS established in 1989 as an initiative for quality improvement and patient safety among cardiothoracic surgeons.

The GTSD — the largest and most robust clinical thoracic surgical database in the United States and Canada — contains more than 556,000 general thoracic surgery procedure records and has approximately 1,000 participating surgeons. Almost 30 percent of GTSD participants are currently enrolled in public reporting.

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons is a not-for-profit organization that represents more than 7,400 surgeons, researchers, and allied health care professionals worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest. The society’s mission is to enhance the ability of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide the highest quality patient care through education, research, and advocacy.

Rush lung cancer program honored for providing highest-quality care

In addition to being a three-star program, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer chose Rush’s lung cancer care team as one of five worldwide recipients of the foundation’s inaugural Cancer Care Team Award, which it presented at its World Conference on Lung Cancer in 2017. Acknowledging cancer care teams across the globe who go above and beyond to provide the highest-quality patient care, the award is unique in that the recipients were nominated by patients.


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