Advancing cardiovascular care in Northwestern Ontario

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By Maryanne Matthews

 

The implementation of vascular surgery and on-site endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) now available in at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is a major milestone in the establishment of a full cardiovascular surgery program for Northwestern Ontario.

The Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, and the Honourable Bill Mauro, MPP, made a special visit to our Hospital to help celebrate the exciting advancement in comprehensive cardiovascular care.

EVAR is a minimally invasive surgery in which a modular stent graph is inserted into the femoral artery and passed up into the weakened part of the aorta. Prior to this development, patients requiring this potentially life-saving procedure had to travel outside of the region to access the service.

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David Stephens was the first patient to undergo EVAR at our Hospital in January 2017, and knows first-hand how important it is to have access to cardiovascular care in our region. “Learning that I could receive my treatment here at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre was a huge relief,” he said. “Undergoing a medical procedure is stressful enough without the added difficulties of having to travel and leave your support team behind. I am so thankful for the excellent quality of care that I received right here at home.”

“Admission rates for cardiovascular patients at our Hospital are well above the provincial average. Our patients and their families deserve local access to care,” said Grant Walsh, 1st Vice Chair, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre Board of Directors. “This recent accomplishment reflects our commitment to meet the needs of our region through improved access to cardiovascular care, which will dramatically improve the quality of care and quality of life for thousands of patients.”

This accomplishment stems from a partnership with the University Health Network (UHN), which began in 2015. The partnership has and will continue to be instrumental in Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s quest to expand and improve our comprehensive cardiovascular care program in accordance with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, ensuring access to the highest quality of care, close to home.

“This is an important step forward for our Hospital and we couldn’t have done it without our valuable partners at the University Health Network,” said Jean Bartkowiak, Hospital President and CEO, and CEO of Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute. “We are committed to meeting the specialized acute care needs of the people of Northwestern Ontario. The arrival of vascular surgery and the ability to provide potentially life-saving procedures such as EVAR brings us one step closer to where we should be in terms of providing comprehensive cardiovascular surgery, closer to home.”

Maryanne Matthews is a communications officer at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.