Almost three-quarters of the 6,060 heart operations performed at National Heart Centre (NHC) and National University Hospital (NUH) from 2001 – 2005 were on men, accordingly to an information paper released by the Ministry of Health (MOH). And about 85 per cent of all patients were older than 50. 

NHC & NUH are the only two public hospitals equipped to perform heart surgery.

The main types of surgery performed were isolated coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG), isolated heart valve surgery or a combination of the two operations.  

CABG was the most common type of surgery, at 77.1 per cent. For all types of heart surgery, the median length of stay in hospital was seven days at NUH and eight at NHC. 

The mortality rate after heart surgery in Singapore was deemed comparable to that in other developed countries such as US, UK and Australia. Death after surgery is defined as death within 30 days of surgery or within the same hospital admission as the surgery.  

The number of deaths over the number of heart operations performed equates to the mortality rate. For 2001 to 2005, Singapore had a mortality rate of 3.3 per cent for heart surgery, while the UK rate was 3.5 per cent and the Australian rate 3.2 per cent. 

As expected, Singapore patients with higher risks had higher mortality rates. But these rates were generally lower than the predicted mortality rate for their risk level. More than three-quarters of patients who underwent surgery belonged to the medium or high-risk groups. 

Most of the operations at NUH and NHC were elective or planned. Others were emergency surgery, where the patient’s heart condition was worsening.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.