OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the service quality provided to heart surgery patients during their hospital stay, identifying the patient's expectations and perceptions. To associate service quality with: gender, age and the use of extracorporeal circulation. METHODS: We studied 82 elective heart surgery patients (52.4% females and 47.6% males), operated by midsternal thoracotomy, age: 31 to 83 years (60.4 ± 13.2 years); period: March to September 2006. Service quality was evaluated in two instances: the expectations at pre-operative and the perceptions of the service received on the 6th post-operative; through the application of the modified SERVQUAL scale (SERVQUAL-Card). The result was obtained by the difference of the sum of the scores on perception minus those of the expectations, and through statistical analysis. RESULTS: The SERVQUAL-Card scale was statistically validated, showing adequate level of internal consistency. We found a higher frequency of myocardial revascularization 55 (67.0%); first heart surgery 72 (87.8%) and the use of ECC 69 (84.1%). We noticed high mean values for expectations and perceptions with significant results (P<0.05). We observed a significant relationship between the quality of service with: gender, in empathy (P= 0.04) and age, in reliability (P = 0.02). There was no significant association between ECC and quality of service. CONCLUSION: Service quality was satisfactory. The patient demonstrated a high expectation to hospital medical service. Women present a higher perception of quality in empathy and younger people in reliability. The use of ECC is not related to service quality in this sample. The data obtained in this study suggest that the quality of this health service can be monitored through the periodical application of the SERVQUAL scale.
Cardiac surgical procedures; Quality of health care; Scales; Quality indicators, health care; Single health system