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Cardiac care

Sick Kids receives $23 million for cardio unit

TORONTO – The Sick Kids Heart Centre will receive $23 million in funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and from a committed group of donors to Sick Kids Foundation for the creation of the Cardiac Diagnostic and Interventional Unit (CDIU).

The state-of-the-art unit will be used to diagnose and treat children with congenital heart disease. Minimally invasive procedures that will be performed in this unit can eliminate the need for open-heart surgery among cardiac patients.

Scheduled to open in early 2007, the 18,000 square-foot CDIU will include two catheterization labs, an integrated MRI, a post-anaesthetic recovery area and new systems for storing clinical and research information.

“The integrated unit will allow Sick Kids to continue developing new innovations in minimally invasive alternatives to open-heart surgery,” said Dr. Lee Benson, director of the CDIU at Sick Kids. “It will open up the possibility of finding new treatments that cause less strain on children with cardiac conditions.”

Sick Kids Heart Centre has the largest paediatric interventional catheterization program in Canada and is a leader in Ontario for innovative procedures to treat complex cardiac conditions in children. It conducts approximately 90 percent of cardiac catheterization procedures for Ontario children, with 1,000 catheterizations performed last year.

By inserting special catheters through a vein or artery, while a child is under general anaesthesia, many holes in the heart can be closed, narrowed valves and arteries can be opened, and abnormal electrical pathways that cause palpitations can be repaired. Most children can go home within 24 hours after the procedure with nothing more than a small bandage on their leg.

“This joint funding from government and donors to the Foundation will allow Sick Kids to provide the best and most advanced care available to children in Ontario with heart disease,” said Michael O’Mahoney, president, Sick Kids Foundation.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has committed to providing up to $7.2 million to fund the CDIU. The unit has also received funding from private donors totalling $15.8 million. A gift of $3 million from Mitchell Goldhar, owner of FirstPro Shopping Centres, completes the private funding commitment to the CDIU.

The multi-year gifts from the events and radiothons of Standard Radio total $8 million and represent the largest combined donation to the CDIU. Other major donors to the CDIU with gifts of more than $1 million include: Ruth and Douglas Grant, David and Judy Galloway, Jennifer Ivey Bannock and the Ivey Foundation.

“We are delighted to have been able to contribute to the creation of the CDIU, and we applaud the private donors who have given so generously as well,” said Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman. “Sick Kids has a well-deserved reputation for delivering excellent care to children in need, and this state-of-the-art facility will improve that level of care even further.”

The Hospital for Sick Children, affiliated with the University of Toronto, is Canada’s most research-intensive hospital and the largest centre dedicated to improving children’s health in the country. Its mission is to provide the best in family-centred, compassionate care, to lead in scientific and clinical advancement, and to prepare the next generation of leaders in child health.