University of Ottawa Heart Institute

University of Ottawa Heart Institute

February 03, 2014 08:56 ET

Heart Month: Ottawa Heart Institute Performs Highest Number of Transplants in Canada, Achieves 100% Survival Rate

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 3, 2014) - The Ottawa Heart Institute Heart Transplant Program has reached a new milestone. After performing its 500th heart transplant in 2012, the Heart Institute's team performed Canada's highest number of heart transplants in 2013 with a striking total of 36 transplants while achieving a 100% survival rate.

"The remarkable way in which our entire team has come together in the last year was paramount to our success in performing so many life-saving procedures," said Dr. Marc Ruel, Chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery at the Ottawa Heart Institute. "Over the years, the Heart Institute has become a centre of excellence, in Canada and around the world, in bringing the latest innovations to the operating room and the patient's bedside, thanks to the Institute's unique model in which we integrate clinical care, research and education under one roof."

Heart transplantation carries its own set of risks, including complications during or after the transplant. A team of doctors and health professionals from all disciplines at the Institute assesses all patients who are referred for transplant to determine who might benefit from the procedure. When patients are accepted for heart transplants, their names are placed on a nationwide transplant waiting list. Patients are listed according to the severity of their medical condition, so sicker patients are generally given higher priority. The importance of organ donation in Canada is fundamental to this process and in ensuring that more Canadians have a second chance at life.

"From the first transplant in 1984 by Dr. Keon through to the tremendous milestone achievement of 500 heart transplants in 2012, the Ottawa Heart Institute continues to be a source of international pride," said Ronnie Gavsie, Trillium Gift of Life Network President and CEO. "We heartily applaud the Heart Institute on its success in 2013. Together we can help save more lives in 2014."

Patients in need of a heart transplant typically have one of two cardiovascular conditions. One is irreversible damage to the heart caused by coronary artery disease that has resulted in severe heart attacks or myocardial infarctions. The other condition is a heart muscle disease called cardiomyopathy, in which the heart is unable to contract normally because of damage to the muscle cells. Occasionally, other forms of heart disease require transplantation, such as congenital heart defects, which are structural problems present at birth.

"Heart transplants are an amazingly effective therapy and we must remember that half of these patients would otherwise not have lived one year without a transplant," added Dr. Ruel.

The Heart Institute's first transplant was performed 30 years ago, on May 29, 1984, by Dr. Wilbert Keon, and up to 20 transplants are usually conducted each year, giving each patient a chance at a new life. The Heart Institute helps set the standard for transplant procedures and protocols across the country, as a leading member of the Canadian Cardiac Transplant Group.

About the Ottawa Heart Institute

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) is Canada's largest and foremost cardiovascular health centre dedicated to understanding, treating and preventing heart disease. UOHI delivers high-tech care with a personal touch, shapes the way cardiovascular medicine is practiced and revolutionizes cardiac treatment and understanding. It builds knowledge through research and translates discoveries into advanced care. UOHI serves the local, national and international community, and is pioneering a new era in heart health. For more information visit:

Contact Information

  • Vincent Lamontagne
    Senior Manager, Public Affairs
    University of Ottawa Heart Institute
    613-899-6760 (cell)