Candidates for cardiac surgery in the USA face a difficult dilemma. Cardiac surgery is extremely expensive in the USA, making it virtually unaffordable for the uninsured or underinsured. Meanwhile, cardiac surgery in many Latin American countries is affordable, but many patients are afraid to venture outside the US for such a complicated procedure. Are there many high quality heart surgery centers in Latin America? The answer is YES. But many patients are overwhelmed with doubt and fear about the prospect of leaving home for care.

The solution to this dilemma is international accreditation: the voluntary process of a cardiac hospital or center to engage in continuous education, evaluation, and review by an impartial third party. This process ensures that no matter where the cardiac center is, it will abide by the highest standards of quality available in the world. Accreditation also ensures that the cardiac center abides by the standards of quality that will be developed in the future.

“Heart surgery in a facility without accreditation is like asking a person to jump from a plane with a backpack that might or might not contain a parachute,” comments Dr. John Olsen, president of Acreditas Global, the international subsidiary of AAAHC, a highly reputable US-based accreditation organization. “If you have to jump out of a plane, you want to make sure that that backpack has a parachute and that parachute is fabricated with the highest standards in the industry. That’s what accreditation means to a patient.”

According to Dr. Olsen, while patients in need of cardiac surgery do travel abroad, they rarely go to cardiac centers or hospitals that do not have accreditation. “When it comes to accreditation, pediatric cardiac surgery is in a category of its own. Of course parents are worried. And it isn’t just foreigners with children needing cardiac surgery that benefit from accreditation. We all do. Every patient admitted into a hospital operating room benefits. Every doctor who knows without a doubt that everyone on his or her team is properly trained in procedures will benefit. If you are a surgeon who spent years specializing in cardiac surgery, if you can choose where to practice — if it will be in a cardiac center or hospital that is accredited.”

Patients seeking cardiac surgery are encouraged to consider the benefits and safety of accredited healthcare facilities.

For more information about Healthcare Accreditation, please send an email with your needs to with the word Accreditation in the subject line. A qualified accreditation specialist will contact you to discuss your specific accreditation needs.