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St. Michael’s role in making cardiac care in northern Ontario better, quicker-to-access, and closer to home

Toronto, June 12, 2018

By Michael Oliveira

Dr. Christopher Buller
Dr. Christopher Buller

St. Michael’s Hospital is helping to expand cardiac care in northern Ontario by acting as the mentor site for Sault Area Hospital, which is working toward launching its own percutaneous coronary intervention services.

The partnership is building on collaborative work over the past year that saw St. Michael’s cardiologists regularly provide non-interventional cardiac services at SAH, while also offering educational opportunities and support for staff and physicians.

Going forward, St. Michael’s interventional cardiologists will make up the core group of physicians delivering PCI care at SAH and will guide recruitment of additional cardiologists based primarily in Sault Ste. Marie.

Currently, approximately 400 patients in the Algoma District, which includes Sault Ste. Marie and Eliot Lake, are referred out each year for PCI care, also known as coronary angioplasty, a procedure that restores blood flow to the heart by opening up coronary arteries affected by disease.

“Adding a program in interventional cardiology to the existing high quality cardiac services in Sault Ste. Marie accomplishes several important goals,” said Dr. Christopher Buller, director of Cardiac Catheterization and Intervention at St. Michael’s, who is leading the implementation of PCI care at SAH.

“Most patients needing angioplasty can now have it closer to home, and those suffering large heart attacks who would benefit from an emergency angioplasty will now have it much sooner. At the same time, the strategic alignment with St. Mike’s means Sault patients needing the most specialized care have a fast and efficient pathway to obtaining it.”

It’s expected that the first coronary angioplasty case at SAH will be performed this summer.

“This procedure will greatly benefit patients and their families by enabling the hospital to bring care closer to home; minimizing the burden of travel,” said Ron Gagnon, SAH president and CEO.

“From a provincial perspective, this will also reduce duplication of expensive diagnostic tests, the cost of Northern Ontario Travel Grants and air ambulance costs (ORNGE) when transporting patients to other centres.”

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 29 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.


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