Heart transplants: Heart Institute performs unprecedented streak in history

Between December 31 and January 7, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute’s team has successfully performed an impressive seven heart transplants.  All patients are doing well with good heart and lung functions. The previous exceptional streak was in November 2012 with three transplants in 24 hours.

Patients were from all across Canada, from Newfoundland, to emergently being transferred from as far as Winnipeg. All patients were in an advanced stage of cardiac illness, most having previously had major cardiac operations and being on an artificial mechanical heart support device.  

This represents a truly fantastic team effort as it typically takes more than 24 hours to prepare and perform a transplant. Amazingly, the team was still able to perform numerous other urgent operations during this time.

“I want to sincerely thank the entire team, including the operating room and intensive care unit (ICU) nurses, perfusionists, anesthesiologists and anesthesia technicians, retrieval teams, cardiologists and surgeons, all contributing to the UOHI continually seeing its transplant survival rates superior to the top international standards,” said Dr. Marc Ruel, Chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery who led the team during these intensive procedures. “Our team of transplant cardiologists is key to optimally select, prepare, and keep our patients healthy before and after transplant.”

This comes as the Heart Institute is being recognized by the Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN), Ontario’s not-for-profit agency responsible for coordinating organ and tissue donation and transplantation. TGLN awarded the Institute with the Hospital Achievement Award – Provincial Routine Notification Rate, for meeting the target of 100% of routine notification rate for 2014-2015. This represents the rate of compliance with the legislative requirement to report deaths to TGLN. The Ottawa Heart Institute is one of only two hospitals in the province to receive this award.

“As always, we are also very grateful to the Trillium Gift of Life Network team who provided round the clock, continued organ procurement expertise and to our team which is fuelled by an exceptional esprit de corps where patients always come first. Procedure after procedure our team continues to fulfil its promise to deliver world-class compassionate care to its patients, their families, and to our community, and impacting cardiovascular care on the national and international scenes,” said Dr. Thierry Mesana, President and CEO of the Heart Institute.

This year marks the University of Ottawa Heart Institute’s 40th anniversary since its foundation by the legendary cardiac surgeon, Dr. Wilbert Keon. Since then, the Institute has flourished into one of Canada’s most distinguished heart health centres for the unparalleled care it provides to its patients, a world-renowned research Institute that brings science from bench to bedside and the country’s main influencer when it comes to preventing heart disease. Its promise remains the very pillar on which it was built: Always putting patients first.

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