Karolinska University Hospital has the lowest mortality rate for cardiac surgery


Karolinska University Hospital is among the best hospitals in the world in terms of survival after cardiac surgery.x

In 2021, the mortality rate for cardiac surgery was 1.4 percent, with 1,035 performed surgeries. In 2020, the mortality rate for cardiac surgery was 1.1 percent out of 1,026 surgeries. This places Karolinska at the top of international comparisons. For example, Cleveland Clinics, ranked No. 1 in the US for 27 consecutive years for cardiac care, had a mortality rate of 1.6 percent in 2021 and 1.3 percent in 2020.

The number of procedures per surgeon makes the difference

– An important factor in this is the number of procedures per surgeon. In our hospital, all specialist cardiac surgeons performed over 100 cardiac surgeries. “The surgeon who performed the most operations performed 222 procedures, and I, as Director, performed 121 procedures,” says Peter Svenarud, Consultant and Director of Karolinska's Thoracic Surgery Department.

Over the past five years, the mortality rate for cardiac surgery at Karolinska University Hospital has dropped significantly. At the same time, the number of cardiac surgeries increased.

– We work with continuous quality improvement in all parts of a well-functioning healthcare chain. We have well-developed surgical methods and optimised surgical planning. The waiting time for heart surgery is now only 13 days, says Peter Svenarud.

The shortest waiting time for surgery among Swedish hospitals

The hospital also has the shortest waiting time for surgery among Swedish hospitals, with a median waiting time of 13 days, and 99 percent of patients were operated within 90 days. This is shown by Swedeheart's national quality index.

Swedeheart’s annual report