OTTAWA, December 22, 2016 – As 2016 winds down, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) can look back on a remarkable 40th anniversary year that brought together the extended Heart Institute community in celebration and appreciation. Significant accomplishments in patient care and research were made by the Heart Institute’s committed team who has undeniably contributed its reputation in Canada and around the world.
Last January, the Heart Institute performed an unprecedented streak in its history. In fact, between December 31 and January 7, UOHI’s team successfully performed an impressive seven heart transplants. The previous exceptional streak was in November 2012 with three transplants in 24 hours.
In February, a study led by Dr. Jennifer Reed, Associate Scientist in the Division of Prevention and Rehabilitation, showed that high-intensity interval training may lead to improved cardiovascular health and fitness for patients with permanent atrial fibrillation. The study was published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.
In April, the Heart Institute co-hosted the inaugural Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit. The Summit was the first step in building a pan-Canadian network to deal with the issue of heart disease in women. Experts agreed that there was a sense of urgency to take action and that we have to continue raising awareness among women so they become stronger advocates. Heart health experts also must do a better job at educating health care professionals.
In April, veteran researchers and tomorrow’s leading scientists were awarded close to $2.5 million in new funding from various grant programs, including the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canada Foundation for Innovation John R. Evans Leaders Fund’s Infrastructure Grant. Furthermore, UOHI had a success rate of 50% in the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Grant-in-Aid competition, putting it well above the national average of 20%.
On the beautiful morning of May 11, the Heart Institute held the Founders’ Breakfast to celebrate its birthday. Close to 500 guests, including past and current staff, patients and families, donors and partners of the Heart Institute came together to commend the achievements and history of what is now known as an internationally renowned cardiac centre, here in Ottawa.
In July, a team led by Dr. Katey Rayner discovered a new method for identifying individuals who are at high risk for heart attack or stroke. The team found that dying cells in arterial plaque deposits can weaken arteries and can be used as a marker for plaques that can rupture and lead to serious cardiovascular events. The study, published in Science Advances, detailed how cardiac imaging can be used to identify the high-risk plaques and illustrates the potential for therapeutic interventions.
In October, the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation (OMSC), created and powered by UOHI, celebrated ten years of partnership with local hospitals in the Champlain LHIN. Since the implementation of the partnership with OMSC in Eastern Ontario, an impressive 100,000 smokers have been reached through personalized and best practice tobacco dependence treatment, resulting in increased quit attempts and long-term cessation. An estimated 25,000 smokers are smoke-free as a result of the support they received.
In November, Dr. Roy Masters, cardiac surgeon at UOHI for more than 30 years, performed his last open-heart surgery and “hung up his surgical gloves.” Dr. Masters is not leaving the Institute: he is now spearheading the implementation of the new Health Information System for the Division of Cardiac Surgery. The Institute also welcomed Dr. Juan B. Grau as the newest member of its cardiac surgery team. Dr. Grau joined the Institute from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
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