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Image-guided surgery

Child’s heart valve replaced using image-guided catheter

EDMONTON – A 13-year-old Fort Saint John, B.C. boy is the first child in Western Canada to have a valve in his heart replaced without open-heart surgery.

The Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton is one of just two children’s hospitals in Canada that began performing the procedure last month.

Dr. Yashu Coe, Stollery Children’s Hospital Cardiologist and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, performed the procedure July 18, 2006. “Transcatheter pulmonary valve implantation” is used to treat patients with a faulty heart valve. A new valve is hand sewn onto a stent (a wire-mesh frame used to keep blocked blood vessels open), mounted on a balloon catheter, and then an X-ray is used to guide it into position.

“The procedure took a couple of hours in the morning,” says Dr. Coe. “The patient was up and walking that afternoon, and on the way home to British Columbia the next day. That’s much easier on the patient – and the family – than a traditional open surgery, where a child will be in hospital for a week or more. It’s also good for the health system, because it frees up a bed so the surgical team can do another open-heart case.”

Dr. Coe successfully performed three such valve implant procedures on pediatric patients in mid-July. The procedure will be used most commonly for children, but can be used to treat adults as well. The first adult patient in western Canada was also successfully treated at University of Alberta Hospital in July. Dr. Dylan Taylor, Site Co- Medical Director of the University of Alberta Hospital and Stollery Children’s Hospital and Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, University of Alberta performed the adult transcatheter pulmonary valve implantation.

“This is a landmark in cardiac care, and Dr. Coe and the Stollery team deserve tremendous credit,” notes Deb Gordon, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the University of Alberta Hospital and Stollery Children’s Hospital. “It’s another example of our commitment to bringing the most advanced care in the world to children from across Alberta and the West. But most of all, it’s good for kids and families, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Such breakthroughs in cardiac treatment are expected to continue as Capital Health prepares to open the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute next year. The Institute will allow pediatric patients to experience a seamless transition into adult cardiac care.

Many young cardiac patients from outside the Capital Health region are referred to the Stollery Children’s Hospital through the Western Canadian Children’s Heart Network.

The Network’s goals are to share clinical knowledge and expertise to improve care for children and their families in B.C. and the Prairie Provinces. Several members of the Western Canadian Children’s Heart Network were in Edmonton to witness this new procedure.

About Capital Health
Capital Health in Edmonton is Canada’s largest health region and is affiliated with the University of Alberta, providing integrated health services to one million residents in Edmonton and the surrounding area. Capital Health acts as a referral centre to central and northern Alberta, the North and the Prairies, providing specialized services such as trauma and burn treatment, organ transplants and high-risk obstetrics.