A REPORT commissioned to look into a recent surge in heart transplant deaths has cleared Harefield Hospital of any wrongdoing.
The review, published last Wednesday, found that there were no common factors and the overall high-risk profile of patients was an important contributing factor into the deaths.
It was in October that the review was triggered when the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust notified authorities that four consecutive patients had died within 30 days of undergoing heart transplants at the hospital.
Professor Timothy Evans, medical director of Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust, said: "We welcome the findings of this report and will continue to implement an action plan based upon its recommendations."
The review assessed the care of seven patients who died between January and September this year. In addition to the four who died within 30 days, to died within 90 days and one within 108 days of their heart transplantations.
Nigel Ellis, the Healthcare Commission's head of investigations, said: "We note that the review did not find evidence of deficiencies in the care given to patients or that the deaths could have been prevented.
"I'm sure these will be important findings for the family of those patients.
"The Harefield review also makes important recommendations for the hospital to further tighten its procedures, particularly around better assessments of whether a patient is well enough to undergo such major surgery.
"It's important to note that when rates of mortality were examined over a longer period of time, Harefield Hospital wasfound to have a slightly lower rate than the national average.
"This shows how difficult it can be to apply statistical analysis to small numbers of patients over a short space of time."
He also praised the hospital trust, adding they did the right thing my notfying the authorities of their concerns.