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30 Years of Heart Transplants in Ottawa: Hundreds of Lives Saved

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 05/28/14 -- The University of Ottawa Heart Institute, its entire team, and the hundreds of transplant patients are proud to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its heart transplant program, initiated by the legendary Dr. Wilbert Keon. Mr. Jean-Yves Villeneuve was the first transplant patient, and the attending cardiologist was Dr. Ross Davies.

"Something extraordinary happens at the Heart Institute every time a heart makes its way to our hospital. We give second chances at life to our heart transplant patients and their families. I wish to commend the remarkable leadership of Dr. Marc Ruel, Chief of Cardiac Surgery, Dr. Haissam Haddad, Medical Director of our transplant program, and Ms. Jaqueline Grenon, the program coordinator who get those hearts to the Institute. Their entire teams, from all spheres of the medical world, are truly achieving miracles on a daily basis," said Dr. Thierry Mesana, President and CEO of the Heart Institute.

The Heart Institute's first transplant was performed in 1984, and over 20 transplants have been conducted each year since, with a record of 36 transplants in 2013, the most in Canada with a 100% survival rate, giving heart recipients a chance at a new life. Transplant patients are seen in the Heart Function Clinic when their hearts are no longer strong enough to pump adequate volumes of blood. 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.

Back in 2012, a significant milestone was reached at the Heart Institute as the transplant team performed its 500th heart transplant, 28 years after the first transplant in Ottawa was performed.

A recent study by researchers in the heart transplant program, looking at 25 years of follow-up on 461 Heart Institute transplant patients, revealed that heart transplant surgery is safe and effective. The retrospective study, spanning three decades, found that survival rates are now close to 90 per cent, an improvement of more than 20 per cent over the years since modern heart transplantation became available in 1980.

"Heart transplant is a remarkably effective therapy," said Dr. Marc Ruel, Chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery at the Heart Institute. "We must remember that half of these patients would otherwise not have lived one year without a transplant."

On August 24, 2012, the Province of Ontario announced its commitment to move ahead with a new building extension for the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. This new facility will ensure the Heart Institute has sufficient capacity to continue shaping cardiovascular care, research and education for the coming decades, and to perform high level procedures, such as transplants, in a cutting-edge, state-of-the-art facility.

(ii) Former transplant patients, members of the cardiac surgery team and of the Heart Institute's administration are available to comment in the media on the different aspect of the transplant process, from the organ retrieval, the procedure, and the post-surgery path to a healthy life (ii)

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