North Charleston, SC (August 2, 2021) – Trident Medical Center’s open heart program has earned the highest rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for its patient care and outcomes in isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) procedures for 2020.  The rating, which denotes the highest category of quality, places Trident Medical Center among the Top 10% of participating hospitals in the U.S. and Canada for CABG outcomes.  Surgeons James Benner, MD and Karen Gersch, MD, FACS, FACC,  with Palmetto Cardiovascular and Thoracic Associates Trident Health led Trident’s team that earned the recognition.

“For open heart surgery patients in the Lowcountry and beyond who need a CABG procedure the rating means the care they receive at Trident Medical Center is among the best of the best,“ explained cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon James Benner, MD.  About 500,000 CABG procedures are done in the U.S. each year.  It’s one of the most common major surgeries and performed to treat coronary artery disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Karen Gersch, MD, FACS, FACC, added, “The recognition is truly an indication of exceptional team work and the team’s consistent attention to detail in every case.  The review conducted by the STS is very thorough.  Dr. Benner and I are the lead surgeons, but there’s a large group of other physicians and clinicians, that include anesthesiologists, intensivists, respiratory therapists, nurses, physicians assistants and others who share in this success.”

Interventional cardiologist Patrick Looser, MD, with Lowcountry Cardiology, often consults with Drs. Benner and Gersch and says, “Dr. Benner and Gersch are skilled, experienced surgeons who have rightfully earned the respect of their peers and trust of their patients. Many people in the Lowcountry are alive today because of their extraordinary talent.”

The STS star rating system is one of the most sophisticated and highly regarded overall measures of quality in health care, rating the benchmarked outcomes of cardiothoracic surgery programs across the United States and Canada. The star rating is calculated using a combination of quality measures for specific procedures performed by an STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database participant.

“The Society of Thoracic Surgeons congratulates STS National Database participants who have received three-star ratings (the highest awarded by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons),” said David M. Shahian, MD, chair of the Task Force on Quality Measurement. “Participation in the Database and public reporting demonstrates a commitment to quality improvement in health care delivery and helps provide patients and their families with meaningful information to help them make informed decisions about health care.”

The STS National Database was established in 1989 as an initiative for quality improvement and patient safety among cardiothoracic surgeons. The Database includes four components: the Adult Cardiac Surgery Database (ACSD), the Congenital Heart Surgery Database (CHSD), the General Thoracic Surgery Database (GTSD), and the mechanical circulatory support database (Intermacs).

The STS ACSD houses approximately 6.9 million surgical records and gathers information from more than 3,800 participating physicians, including surgeons and anesthesiologists from more than 90% of groups that perform heart surgery in the US. STS public reporting online enables STS ACSD participants to voluntarily report to each other and the public their heart surgery scores and star ratings.

About the Society of Thoracic Surgeons

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) is a not-for-profit organization that represents more than 7,300 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.

About Trident Health

For 46 years Trident Health has provided acute care services to families in South Carolina’s Lowcountry including Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties.  Trident Health includes two acute care hospitals – 321-bed Trident Medical Center and 124-bed Summerville Medical Center; three freestanding ERs – Brighton Park Emergency, Centre Pointe Emergency and Moncks Corner Medical Center – and two urgent care centers – CareNow Urgent Care Goose Creek and CareNow Urgent Care North Charleston.

Trident Health is one of the region’s largest employers with more than 2,500 staff and a medical staff of more than 600 physicians.  In 2020 Trident Medical Center was recognized by Healthgrades as among American’s 50 Best Hospitals for Vascular Surgery.  Additionally, The Joint Commission has recognized Trident Medical Center as a national Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center and Summerville Medical Center as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center. In 2020, Trident Health provided $45.6 million in charity care and paid more than $35.4 million in local, state and federal taxes. To learn more about how Trident Health is expanding services to meet the growing healthcare needs of South Carolina Lowcountry families go to

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