NICOR: National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research



The National Congenital Heart Disease Audit collects data from all congenital cardiac centres in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Bristol Inquiry (2001) into the care of children receiving heart surgery highlighted the fundamental role of quality information in improving standards of care and patient outcomes. 

Participation in the audit is mandatory for relevant English and Welsh hospitals as part of the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP). The NCAPOP is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) and funded by NHS England.  

The project aims to improve the quality of care for children and adults with congenital heart disease by providing national comparative analysis of activity and outcomes of cardiac surgery and therapeutic cardiac catheterisation procedures. The audit also provides quality indicators for the antenatal detection of major congenital heart disease.

The audit supports local quality improvement by :

  1. Improving data quality.

    • Using a nationally agreed dataset to collect data via a centralised secure data collection system
    • Data validation visits and data quality checks within the database
    • Sharing best practice to optimise data quality and data collection efficiency
  2. Providing hospitals and the public with reliable information about the immediate and long term outcomes for children including:

    •  Survival rates at 30 days and one year after treatment
    •  Likely outcomes of current treatments
    •  Centre specific data
  3. Supporting improvement in standards of care and patient outcomes through clinical audit and research. Examples include:

    • Development and validation of risk stratification for surgery and therapeutic catheteristaion in congenital heart disease to ensure we measure like with like
    • Detecting best practice in terms of survival and freedom from reintervention
    • Detecting poor performance and providing validated information to the relevant clinicians and organisations.

The audit is managed by NICOR and is clinically led by Dr Rodney Franklin, consultant paediatric cardiologist at a consultant cardiac surgeon at the Royal Brompton Hopsital. Specialist clinical knowledge is provided by the the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgeons (SCTS) and the British Congenital Cardiac Association and the audit steering committee.