Study Reviews Success Rates of Cardiac Cath Lawsuits

Sarah Klein | October 1st, 2013

Cardiac Cath Lawsuits - New York Hospital Malpractice LawyersIn the past three decades, almost 1,500 cardiac cath lawsuits have been filed because of mistakes made by healthcare providers offering interventional cardiology treatments. A study in the American Journal of Cardiology shows most of the cases have not resulted in payouts to plaintiffs. However, when patients successfully prove they suffered injury, medical malpractice compensation is significant. Plaintiffs who proved serious harm received average payouts of $555,625 while the total average payouts across all closed claims was $230,987.

Study shows most cardiac cath lawsuits hard to prove

Interventional cardiology is a common treatment method for patients suffering from structural heart diseases. Catheter based treatments used in interventional cardiology include a variety of procedures including angioplasty, valvuloplasty, congenital heart defect correction, and coronary thrombectomy.

Between 1985 and 2009, 1,441 medical malpractice claims were recorded in the Physician Insurers Association Registry arising from these and other interventional cardiology procedures. Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and the University of Illinois in Chicago reviewed these claims to identify how many resulted in payouts to plaintiffs and what the average compensation was in a cardiac cath lawsuit.

Researchers indicated just 22 percent of claims recorded as closed resulted in payouts to plaintiffs. In cases where the plaintiffs died as a result of the cardiac intervention treatment, 28 percent of claims resulted in payments. When the plaintiff was gravely injured, 43 percent of claims were paid. When a plaintiff experienced only minor temporary injury, just 15 percent of malpractice claims were paid. Finally, plaintiffs who experienced emotional injury prevailed only in nine percent of claims.

Researchers cautioned that the data provides a broad picture that does not speak to individual cases, but that the severity of the injuries plays a major role in the likelihood of a plaintiff obtaining compensation. The low rate of claims that occur in the plaintiff’s favor, however, indicate that many plaintiffs face challenges in successfully proving their case and prevailing in court. However, successful plaintiffs who were seriously harmed can receive large malpractice payouts.

New York hospital malpractice lawyers assist victims of cardiac intervention mistakes

Many types of mistakes result in cardiac cath lawsuits, but some cases are more likely to pay out than others. The recent study revealed that:

  • Improper performance was the cause of 35 percent of claims arising from cardiac intervention treatment. Plaintiffs won 24 percent of cases. The average payout was $255,542.
  • Diagnostic errors accounted for 9.9 percent of malpractice cases and plaintiffs were paid in 33 percent of claims. The average payout was $270,916.
  • A failure to supervise or monitor the patient was the cause of eight percent of total claims. In 29 percent of cases, the plaintiff prevailed. The average payout was $229,661.
  • Failure to recognize treatment complications accounted for 7.1 percent of claims and plaintiffs were paid in 28 percent of cases. The average payout was $213,194.
  • Unnecessary or inappropriate treatment, was the cause of 4.1 percent of claims and plaintiffs were paid compensation in 20 percent of these cases. The average payout was $113,718.
  • A delay in performance accounted for 2.6 percent of total claims and plaintiffs won 25 percent of cases. The average payout was $196,833.
  • Foreign objects left in the body during surgery accounted for 1.8 percent of cases and plaintiffs won 38 percent of these claims. The average payout was $226,703.

Other reasons for malpractice claims from cardiac intervention treatment included a failure to perform an indicated procedure, or a failure or delay in referral or consultation.

In any malpractice case arising from cardiac intervention errors, the plaintiff must prove both that the medical professional was unreasonably negligent or provided substandard care, and that injury was a direct result. Proving this may be easier when a plaintiff can show a wrong surgery was performed or a surgical tool was left inside the body, as a reasonably competent medical professional would be unlikely to make these errors. When the issue is more subjective, such as whether the patient was properly monitored after a cath procedure, it will be necessary to demonstrate how and why the monitoring was insufficient in the particular case.

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries resulting from cardiac intervention errors in New York, including Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island, the New York hospital malpractice lawyers at The Sanders Firm will review your case and advise you as to whether or not legal recourse is an option. We can retain expert witnesses on your behalf and secure evidence of malpractice to help you obtain monetary damages for your past and future medical expenses, lost income, pain, suffering and other intangible losses.

To discuss your legal rights and options with a NY medical malpractice attorney, contact The Sanders Firm for a complimentary case evaluation. Our veteran team of attorneys can answer all your questions and help you outline your best course of action for securing compensation. Call toll-free 1.800.FAIR.PLAY.


  1. TctMD, Study Explores Malpractice Lawsuits Stemming from Interventional Cardiology, http://www.tctmd.com/show.aspx?id=119969