New hope for children suffering from heart defects
Congenital heart defects affect one in 80 children in Canada every year and there is currently no treatment to permanently repair the heart. At CHU Sainte-Justine, the understanding of heart defects has grown considerably, thanks to experts specialized in pediatric cardiology.
To help accelerate essential research, CP is proud to announce a gift of $1 million to CHU Sainte-Justine towards the creation of Quebec's first platform for stem cell research and pediatric regenerative medicine. The funds will help identify the mechanisms that form the heart, find ways to regenerate cardiac tissues and develop a cure for congenital heart defects that will save the lives of thousands of children.
Together, CP and the Heart & Stroke are moving research forward through our commitment of $3 million over three years to support cardiovascular research that will prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery. This visionary partnership is the largest in the Foundation's history. The
CP Has Heart Cardiovascular Awards will fund cardiac research grants at hospitals and research institutes across the country, with a focus on solutions for families.
Every year, people die while waiting for a blood-matched donor. In order for a transplant to be viable, the donor and recipient must have the same blood type or the donor's organ will be rejected. Because the immune system of newborns isn't fully developed, it doesn't attack these foreign cells. CP's donation to the Heart & Stroke during the CP International at Spruce Meadows will go towards heart transplant research performed by Dr. Lori West, Director of Heart Transplant Research at the University of Alberta. She is currently exploring how her research findings involving cardiac transplant for babies can be applied to improve the success rate of adult heart transplants.
At the Alberta Children's Hospital, technological and scientific research significantly advances the understanding of congenital heart anomalies and improves outcomes. CP's donation during the 2016 CP Women's Open supported the development of liquid biopsy, a non-invasive procedure that doctors hope will replace invasive tissue biopsies currently used to determine if a child's transplanted heart is being attacked by his or her immune system. This new approach, in combination with the advanced DNA sequencing technologies at the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute, can also be used to make a genetic diagnosis for congenital heart disease before a baby is born.
Two thirds of the funds raised during the 2014 CP Women's Open went to the CP Healthy Hearts Research Fund to improve the quality of life of children with heart disease. The Children's Health Foundation and the Children's Health Research Institute (CHRI) identified three areas where further pediatric cardiac research was required to develop a better understanding of heart disease in children: 1) Identify and visualize the underlying genetic causes of heart defects early in the process of heart development; 2) Determine the exercise capacity of children with congenital heart disease; 3) Assess environment factors that prevent children from engaging in physical activity or healthy food choices.
The other third went to the CP Healthy Hearts Laboratory to purchase stress testing equipment. The lab is used daily and is currently seeing 200 referrals a month. A more spacious lab and state-of-the-art equipment has enabled the team to see more patients and decrease waiting times.
One of the most effective ways for families and organizations to be prepared to respond to heart-related emergencies is to be trained to administer CPR and use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). When an individual goes into cardiac arrest, the chances of survival increase by up to 75 percent when CPR is combined with the use of an AED.
CP was on site with the Heart & Stroke in June at Spruce Meadows, Calgary, teaching families how to save a life with CPR and AED. Each time a competitor jumped a clear round in the CP Grand Prix, CP donated AED equipment and training, resulting in 33 AEDs placed in locations around Calgary where young people play, gather and learn. We offer CPR/AED training to our employees and encourage everyone to get trained and save lives.
Women are under-informed about their risk of heart disease. One of the difficulties is the lack of effective, non-invasive screening tests. The standard stress test is not predictive enough in many women.
St-Boniface is testing the Rasmussen protocol, a cardiovascular screening that has shown to be a better approach for identifying individuals who have early stages of cardiovascular disease. The test involves 1,000 women and this multi-year study will provide the first practice-based Canadian evidence that the Rasmussen protocol effectively identifies asymptomatic women at risk for experiencing an adverse cardiovascular event. If so, it will represent a major step forward for both diagnostic and preventative medicine. Ultimately both women and men would benefit.
Our donation at the 2015 Grey Cup was used to purchase a dedicated echocardiogram machine. To date, more than 500 women have been screened, with the project on schedule to be completed in 2017. Each woman identified as being at moderate or high risk for heart disease has started care and kinesiologist intervention. Those identified as low risk received general care information about ways to stay heart healthy. Of the current women screened, 86 more women have been flagged by the Rasmussen protocol than by the current standard protocol. This suggests the Rasmussen protocol is more effective, although no conclusion will be drawn until the end of the study.
Many individuals are unable to recognize the warning signs or respond appropriately to heart-related emergencies due to a lack of education and training. Through the Heart Walks, the American Heart Association seeks to educate and engage local communities about heart health and raise much-needed dollars for public and professional education, research, quality healthcare and community programs. CP proudly sponsored the Heart Walks in Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Chicago.
The Royal Columbian Hospital is BC's busiest cardiac care centre. Its ability to provide the best cardiac care, including four open-heart surgeries a day, depends on having the most advanced equipment available. CP's contribution at the 2014 Grey Cup helped introduce new blood management initiatives as a first in Western Canada. When a cardiac patient is bleeding, the team needs to figure out why – and fast. Advances in technology can provide valuable information and help cardiac surgical teams make quick decisions on the best care for patients.
The funds raised during the 2015 CP Women's Open supported pediatric research into heart rhythm disorders and congenital heart and vascular health. The funds helped purchase a Vivid E9 echocardiogram machine, which is critical for the diagnosis, treatment and care of heart patients. The machine offers a safe and painless way to rapidly assess patients and allow specialists to get high resolution images. More than 8,000 echocardiograms are performed each year at the hospital.
The Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC) is one of the few healthcare centres in North America offering hope to patients with heart failure through their Mechanical Heart Program.
Often referred to as a "bridge to transplant," a mechanical heart, or left ventricular assist device (LVAD), is a sophisticated, miniature mechanical pump. Surgically implanted on one or both sides of the heart, it acts as a temporary assist to keep a damaged heart functioning until a replacement heart is located.
In 2010, Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care approved partial funding of mechanical hearts after seeing the incredible impact on patients. Financial support is still needed to cover the other half of the costs. Since the start of the Mechanical Heart Program at PMCC, more than 200 patients have been implanted with a mechanical heart. The majority of these patients have been able to return to a normal, active life.
The funds raised during the 2016 Grey Cup saved two lives by allowing PMCC to put LVAD's into two patients.