BBC Report on Heart surgery survival chances

October 27, 2017

An article was published on BBC News earlier today about a study published in the Lancet that examines the timing of heart surgeries and survival rates. The study suggested that for the best chance of survival following heart surgery, the surgery is better performed in the afternoon due to the circadian rhythms of the body. While this study is very interesting and helpful when trying to understand the nuances of how the body functions at different times of the day, it is in no way stating that patients who have surgeries scheduled in the morning or any other time of the day are at more risk than patients scheduled in the afternoon. 

We want to reassure patients that the UK has an excellent standard of care and that the mortality rates for valve disease surgery have dropped steadily and consistently over the last 10 years. For many patients the risk now is often extremely low (1-2% for many straightforward cases) regardless of the time surgery takes place.

“What we need to remember is that this is only one study and it needs to be reproduced elsewhere to see whether the findings can be replicated or not. Previous studies performed in the UK have not shown any mortality differences with timings across the working week,” said Chris Young, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Heart Valve Voice Chairman.

Graham Cooper, President of the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery (SCTS) added “Surgery is incredibly safe whether it is performed in the am or pm. The biggest risks patients face are not the time of day their surgery is performed but factors such as age, the strength of their heart and the presence of co-morbidities such as COPD.” 

If you have any concerns we recommend that you speak to your clinician who can advise you further.