Innovative New Cardiac Operating Room Opens at St. Paul’s Hospital

Vancouver, January 15, 2008 — Surgeons and cardiologists at the Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul’s Hospital have a new $3.8-million state-of-the-art cardiac operating room to accommodate the growing number of breakthrough heart procedures being pioneered at the facility.
The newly equipped operating room features advanced technology that will help support the growing number of patients who can now be helped with specialized minimally invasive heart procedures that, for BC and Canada, are only done at St. Paul’s Hospital. Experts predict that minimally invasive heart surgery will become an alternative for patients of all ages.

“This is British Columbia’s first ever Advanced Cardiac Imaging Operating Room,” said Vancouver-Burrard MLA Lorne Mayencourt on behalf of Health Minister George Abbott. “The innovative addition to St. Paul’s Hospital will contribute to world-leading research in the surgical management of heart disease as well as providing new procedures and leading-edge quality care for British Columbians.”

One such procedure pioneered at the hospital is known as minimally invasive apical heart-valve surgery. This new corrective procedure uses a revolutionary folding heart valve, which is inserted into the heart through a small (less than 10 cm) incision between the patient’s ribs. The heart beats normally through the procedure and there is no need to use the heart lung bypass machine required for most open-heart surgeries. Patients are able to avoid the rigours and potential complications of open-heart surgery.

Specialists performing these procedures depend on advanced x-ray and ultrasound imaging technology capable of producing detailed, real-time moving images of the inside of the heart. The new procedure room is equipped with the best possible technology for providing these images, which are displayed on multiple video imaging monitors throughout the room. Other uses of the new room will include open-heart surgery, percutaneous valve replacements, laser-assisted pacemaker lead extractions and repairs of weaknesses in the major vessels close to the heart.

The new advanced imaging operating room will also allow Providence Heart + Lung Institute heart specialists to broadcast images to auditoriums and classrooms around the world.

“Through $3-million in funds provided by donors to the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, along with $750,000 in capital support from the provincial government and Vancouver Coastal Health, we’ve made design and care improvements that will optimize the use of resources for care, while helping to attract and retain world-class health professionals,” said Dianne Doyle, President and CEO of Providence Health Care. “These investments will lead to new knowledge, new disease-prevention methods, and better treatments for heart illnesses.”

Donor funds will also equip the new room with other heart surgery essentials such as a heart/lung machine, anesthesia equipment and sophisticated patient monitors.

“Our donors can feel very proud to be such an important part of this spirit of innovation at St. Paul's, said Stephen Shapiro, President & CEO of the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation. “Our supporters locally, nationally and internationally have made significant contributions to cardiac care and research. On behalf of the many people who will benefit directly from our donors’ generosity, we thank them for recognizing the leadership role of St. Paul's in this field and stepping forward with their wholehearted support for this important project.”

About the Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul’s Hospital
Launched in June 2007, the Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul's Hospital merges and integrates all of Providence's heart and lung research, education and care programs under one umbrella. Its mandate is to transform cardiovascular and pulmonary research and care—transferring new care solutions from the laboratory to the clinics and communities to improve the lives of British Columbians.

An integral part of the Institute is the Heart Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital, which is BC's most comprehensive referral centre for patients with heart disease, a major teaching facility for cardiac professionals, and a leader in investigating heart disease causes and treatments. It is the only place in the province providing special heart initiatives such as:

• heart transplants;
• ventricular assist device support for patients with life-threatening heart failure;
• the Pacific Adult Congenital Heart (PACH) Clinic for adults born with congenital heart defects;
• a Metabolic Syndrome Clinic to help prevent chronic health problems like heart disease and diabetes in people especially at risk;
• highly specialized heart procedures such as pacemaker lead removal
• Canada's first research chair preventive cardiology - the Pfizer/Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC and Yukon Chair in Cardiovascular Prevention Research


Justin Karasick
Providence Health Care Communications
Cell 604-992-2503
Tel. 604-806-8460