We present the need for risk stratification in the monitoring of cardiac surgical practice and review the frequentist and Bayesian approaches to the problem. Developments in the available databases are described. Enhancements to the Parsonnet and EuroSCORE systems are reviewed. We argue that in the UK, although the use of the Parsonnet system is inappropriate and that the EuroSCORE system is a clear improvement, there are advantages in adopting a system based on a Bayesian model for risk assessment
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