Richmond man first in North America to have emergency minimally invasive heart procedure

It took one deathly ill patient, an enthusiastic hospital team and only 19 minutes for a new North American — and perhaps even world — medical record to be set at Vancouver General Hospital last Friday for an emergency heart procedure.

Retired engineer Max Morton’s heart was crashing when his wife, Sharon, took him to the emergency department. Once at the hospital, Morton’s blood pressure fell rapidly and only half the necessary blood was pumping in the correct direction. The culprit was a previously implanted artificial heart valve that suddenly stopped working, and was leaking profusely.

It’s something that’s done, in North America at least, only in carefully selected, stable patients (1,300 at VGH and St. Paul’s hospitals in the past decade) who are scheduled for the procedure — not emergency cases.

Pamela Fayerman reports.

Read More