Survival rates from heart surgery at hospitals across England and Wales will be available to the public for the first time from today.
The Healthcare Commission and the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery have joined forces to launch a website detailing the performances of 30 hospitals with heart units.
Three additional heart units which have yet to provide figures have until June to do so.
In all cases patients will be able to compare the survival rate for each hospital with reference to the range of performance expected once risk factors such as type of operation, age and severity of illness are considered.
The Healthcare Commission says that initial data illustrates that survival rates for all types of heart surgery in England and Wales are better than expected.
Between April 2004 and March 2005, 96.6 per cent of patients survived heart surgery, well above the expected range of 93.7 per cent to 94.5 per cent.
"This is an important move in increasing information available to patients and the public about clinical outcomes", said chairman of the Healthcare Commission Professor Sir Ian Kennedy.
Around 2.6 million people in the UK are affected by heart disease, with more than 30,000 requiring cardiac surgery each year.