Another Milestone For RVH’s Simcoe Muskoka Regional Heart Program

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This week Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre’s (RVH) Simcoe Muskoka Regional Heart Program celebrated yet another milestone in care as the team performed three advanced cardiac procedures including the first angioplasty in the new Cardiac Intervention Unit (CIU).

In early January RVH celebrated the historic first angiogram and since then, more than 708 procedures have been completed. On Monday, three procedures – a  fractional flow reserve (FFR) test, an angioplasty with stenting and angioplasty with a drug-eluting balloon – were all firsts in advanced cardiac care here at RVH.

Elmvale resident Madeleine French, well known as the lead singer for The Martels Rock and Roll Show, was the first patient having had an FFR. This is an advanced cardiac test which measures the flow of blood to determine the percentage of blockage in the heart. Following the procedure Dr. Mark Kotowycz, RVH medical director, Interventional Cardiology, shared good news with French and gave her the green light to keep on singing.

“This a fantastic news and certainly a wakeup call for me,” says French, 68. “I now have the confidence to move forward and take even better care of myself knowing I don’t have to be concerned about my heart. We are very fortunate to have this service so close to home.”

French sang the praises of the Cardiac Care team adding, “The team was so amazing. They answered my questions even before I asked them. They really are so knowledgeable and on top of everything.”

It’s important to note that not all cardiac services will be available to all patients right away. RVH has always planned for a cautious, phased ramp-up of these complex cardiac services to ensure patients throughout the region receive safe, high quality care. Complex cases will continue to be referred to other cardiac centres.

“Monday’s procedures were another step forward as we gradually ramp-up services over the next few years. In 2020 the heart program will operate 24/7 and paramedics will begin transporting North Simcoe Muskoka heart attack patients directly to RVH for treatment, bypassing other local emergency departments,” explains Dr. Kotowycz. “Having these advanced cardiac services available at RVH means most patients in North Simcoe Muskoka will be able to get lifesaving intervention within 90 minutes of a heart attack.”

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