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Surgery

Edmonton called the ‘Heart Transplant Capital of Canada’

EDMONTON –- Capital Health’s University of Alberta Hospital and Stollery Children’s Hospital performed a record number of heart transplants in 2005, reconfirming Edmonton’s status as the heart transplant capital of Canada.

Heart transplant volumes in 2005 were almost double those of the previous year. In 2005, the transplant teams performed 38 adult heart transplants and 16 pediatric heart transplants, a total of 54 procedures, compared to 20 adults and 9 children in 2004.

One of those patients was 43-year-old Gerald Beyers of Spruce Grove, Alberta, who received a new heart in June 2005. Once critically ill and hospitalized for five months, the father of two is planning to return to work in June. “Before my transplant I couldn’t walk up five stairs. Now I can do a 30-minute cardio workout and leg press 365 pounds. The difference in my life is like night and day.”

There are three reasons for the increased number of heart transplants, says Dr. Arvind Koshal, Capital Health’s Regional Program Clinical Director for Cardiac Sciences and Director, Division of Cardiac Surgery, University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry.

“First, we’re absolutely committed to transplantation. We’ve broken down age barriers for both recipients and donors, and built up expertise here that allows us to match a wider range of donor organs and recipients. Second, there’s growing awareness of what we’re doing here, so our colleagues are referring more patients and donor organs to us, from as far away as Alaska, California, and the East Coast. And third, the region and government support us 100 percent – we couldn’t succeed without the commitment of the whole region.”

“We’re very proud of our results,” adds Dr. Ivan Rebeyka, Capital Health’s Director of Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery, Stollery Children’s Hospital. “We have been able to find a heart for every child that has been listed for transplant. It’s very significant that in the last three years, every patient listed for transplant has been transplanted and no child has died while waiting for a new heart.”

The heart transplant program demonstrates the benefit of a consolidated centre of excellence, says Sheila Weatherill, President and CEO of Capital Health. “Through partnerships like the Western Canadian Children’s Heart Network, we’re able to provide world-class care to patients from all four western provinces,” says Weatherill. “We’re proud to be a leader and a resource for the West; and we’ll see that role expand further with the opening of the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute in the Fall of 2007.”

About Capital Health
Capital Health in Edmonton is Canada’s largest academic health region, providing complete health services to one million residents in the cities of Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Spruce Grove and St. Albert, and the counties of Leduc, Parkland, Strathcona and Sturgeon (and communities within their geographical areas), as well as the Town of Devon and communities in the eastern part of Yellowhead County. Capital Health serves a total of 1.6 million people across central and northern Alberta, providing specialized services such as trauma and burn treatment, organ transplants and high-risk obstetrics.

About The Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute
Opening in Fall 2007, the $194 million Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute will be a world class centre of excellence in the prevention and treatment of heart disease through patient care, education and research. It includes Canada’s largest heart transplant program and provides all pediatric open heart surgery for the Prairie provinces. Developed by Capital Health with the University of Alberta, the Heart Institute will serve Alberta, the Prairies and the Canadian North.

 

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