Heart Institute reaches incredible milestone: Completes 700th heart transplant

October 27, 2020

OTTAWA, Tuesday, October 27, 2020 – Despite the challenges imposed on hospitals in Canada and around the world by the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) pulled off an incredible feat, successfully completing the 700th heart transplant in the institute’s history and giving an Ottawa patient a second chance at life. A significant milestone, the 700th marker comes more than 35 years after legendary cardiac surgeon and founder of the UOHI, Dr. Wilbert Keon, performed the first heart transplant in Ottawa.

The UOHI’s dedicated heart transplant team performs as many as 36 heart transplants each year. Transplant patients are treated in the Heart Function Clinic when their hearts are no longer strong enough to pump adequate volumes of blood to meet the body’s needs. The Heart Institute helps set the standard for transplant procedures and protocols across the country as a leading member of the Canadian Cardiac Transplant Network.

“Something extraordinary happened at the Heart Institute – we gave a second chance at life to our 700th heart transplant patient. I wish to commend the remarkable leadership of Dr. Marc Ruel, head of the Division of Cardiac Surgery; Dr. Sharon Chih, director of the Heart Transplant Clinic; Dr. Lisa Marie Mielniczuk, director of the Heart Function Clinic; Dr. Fraser Rubens, the cardiac surgeon who performed the transplant; and their outstanding teams for achieving this important and incredible milestone,” said Dr. Thierry Mesana, the Heart Institute’s president and CEO.

"Transplanting a heart is no small task. It is an immensely complex procedure that requires collaboration across disciplines and a significant level of technical skill and ability,” said Dr. Marc Ruel. “I am elated for our transplant team and especially for our patient, who is now comfortably recovering in hospital with a new heart and a new lease on life.”

About the University of Ottawa Heart Institute

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is Canada’s largest and foremost heart health centre dedicated to understanding, treating and preventing heart disease. It provides unparalleled care to its patients, is the country’s main influencer when it comes to preventing heart disease and is a world-renowned research centre that brings science from bench to bedside. The Heart Institute’s promise remains the very pillar on which it was built: Always putting patients first.

To conduct an interview with members of the Division of Cardiac Surgery, the Heart Function Clinic, and the Heart Transplant Clinic, we invite media to contact the liaison below.

Media Contact

Leigh B. Morris
Communications Officer
University of Ottawa Heart Institute
613-316-6409 (cell.)