Meet Dr. David Wood, structural and interventional cardiologist at both St. Paul's and Vancouver General Hospital, who has been at the forefront of heart innovation and changing the way the world views minimally invasive heart-valve surgery since he arrived at Providence Health Care six years ago.

Dr. David Wood has been described as a rising star in the cardiovascular community and was recently selected to receive the 2014 Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) Young Investigator of the Year runner-up award. As a founding member of the Centre for Heart Valve Innovation (CHVI), he has been instrumental in refining the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure and helping pioneer the ground-breaking Vancouver Multidisciplinary, Multimodality but Minimalist (3M) Clinical Pathway. In conjunction with Dr. John Webb and Dr. Sandra Lauck, the CHVI team recently utilized the 3M Clinical Pathway to replace the failing aortic valve of the still-awake Sister Theresa Stickley as part of a live educational broadcast for the CCS.

Was it always about heart for you, or was cardiac surgery an acquired love?
I have always found the cardiovascular system fascinating. My grandfather suffered from heart disease and so it was a natural fit when I began studying medicine.

What is it about the TAVR procedure that you find most compelling? For you personally, and for the medical profession itself.
To be able to replace an awake patient’s heart valve in 30 minutes and safely discharge them home the following day is incredibly gratifying. The expected mortality for this patient population without valve replacement is close to 50 per cent at one year.

Working with the innovative multidisciplinary Heart Team at both SPH and VGH is definitely a highlight.

What has been your biggest “ah-hah!” moment since starting to perform TAVR procedures?
We have learned a lot and we have completed a tremendous amount of research over the last 10 years. Being able to effectively put what we have learned into daily practice and create the Vancouver 3M Clinical Pathway has been tremendously satisfying.

To further assess the efficacy, feasibility and safety of the 3M Clinical Pathway, the team at CHVI is currently leading the 3M TAVR Study which will enroll 1200 patients at 12 North American sites. ICVHealth in Vancouver is the coordinating centre with a database created locally by CHÉOS. Results from this international study are expected in 2016 and may establish the 3M Clinical Pathway as the new gold standard of care for treating patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis.

What does it mean to you to be identified as a rising star in the cardiac community?
I have been incredibly fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and with the right training. I have had amazing mentors over the last 10 years and my colleagues on the CHVI Heart Team are truly superb. Led by Dr. John Webb, we have created an amazing multidisciplinary team in Vancouver.

On a daily basis I have the opportunity to review and discuss complex and often challenging cases with innovative cardiovascular surgeons (Dr. Anson Cheung, Dr. Jian Ye, Dr. Richard Cook), cardiovascular imaging specialists (Dr. Jonathon Leipsic, Dr. Robert Moss), cardiologists (Dr. Robert Boone, Dr. Mustafa Toma) and nurses (Leslie Achtem and Ruhina Rana).

TAVR was named one of the “hottest” topics in cardiology for 2012 — what do you predict as being the next hot topic?
We are in the midst of a paradigm shift. Minimally invasive therapies for a variety of valvular and structural conditions will likely become the new gold standard of care over the next several years.

What aspirations do you currently have on the horizon?
I have four daughters under age nine, thus they are always a priority.

My primary research interests include transcatheter management of structural and valvular heart disease, advanced cardiac imaging, new device development, and novel strategies for treating acute coronary syndromes. I hope to continue to lead and innovate in all areas, as part of the amazing Heart Team at CHVI.