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2 November 2007

Papworth Hospital Heart Transplantation Mortality Rates

Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is working with the Healthcare Commission to undertake a preliminary review into its Heart Transplantation Programme.

The review is of the heart transplant programme only – all other services, including lung transplantation are not affected and will continue as normal. We expect the review to be completed within two weeks.

As part of our routine audit processes, we regularly review 30-day survival rates for patients who undergo heart transplantation. During the course of this audit we identified a small increase in early mortality following cardiac transplantation. Even though the numbers are relatively small this has been of sufficient concern for us to inform the Department of Health of this change in outcomes. The Department of Health subsequently asked the Healthcare Commission to review the heart transplant service at the Trust.

The review will specifically:-
  • Look at individual case notes of the patients who have died following a heart transplant since January to check the quality of care and to see if there are any common factors.
  • Consider how care is provided to patients throughout the whole "patient pathway", i.e. from their first contact with the Trust, through to admission, discharge and beyond.
  • Review the action that has already been taken by the Trust to try to identify possible causes for the rise in rates of mortality following a heart transplant.
  • Ensure that the transplant service is linked appropriately into the rest of the organisation.
A team, including clinical and technical experts, began the review this week and this will help us identify what, if any, action needs to be taken. It is expected that the review will be concluded and the outcomes reported to the Chief Medical Officer within two weeks.

During the review, heart transplants at Papworth will be paused. We would normally perform one or two heart transplants in a two week period, so only a small number of patients are affected. Should an opportunity arise for one of these cases to be transplanted, clinicians in Papworth will discuss and agree with the external advisors involved in the review how to manage the patients.

Heart transplants are inherently high-risk, complex procedures performed on a relatively small number of patients and the number of operations likely to be affected is therefore small.

We have contacted all patients on the waiting list and others affected by this review directly, but if patients or relatives have any concerns they can contact a member of the transplant team via Papworth's switchboard on 01480 830541.

Background to the Heart Transplantation Review
Nationally, on average, approximately 10% of patients undergoing heart transplant died within 30 days of their transplant. For Papworth, the 30 day mortality has been around 7%. Since the beginning of 2007 Papworth has carried out 20 heart transplants of which 7 died within 30 days. The team of experts will be assessing the quality of the clinical care provided to individual patients and the procedures in place.

- Ends -

For further information please contact Morag Parsons, direct telephone 01480 364657 or Katharine Boness, Communications Manager, direct telephone 01480 364929, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Papworth Everard, Cambridge CB23 3RE


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