On September 17, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation launched the Dream Big: Fix Broken Hearts campaign, a $50 million fundraising effort supported by campaign co-chairs Patricia Saputo, Patrick Shea and Sam Reda, set to transform cardiovascular care at the MUHC. The hospital’s bold plan to stop the progression of heart disease across the lifespan will use precision medicine, continuous care and mathematical models to redesign hearts and regrow damaged tissue to develop new standards of care for heart patients in Montreal, and around the world.

The MUHC is the number one research hospital in Quebec and among the top five in Canada. If you’re born with a heart defect, there’s no better place for continuity of care. It is the only hospital in Canada that provides care across the lifespan — from pediatrics to geriatrics. If you’re undergoing chemotherapy, which can damage the heart, there’s no better place for complex care. Your MUHC oncologist and cardiologist are working together, on the same team.

Fix Broken Hearts - Dr. Nadia Giannetti

Dr. Nadia Giannetti

Chief of Cardiology at the MUHC for a decade, Dr. Nadia Giannetti is truly a heart pioneer. As the Founder and Medical Director of the Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Centre at the MUHC, the Montreal-born physician has the responsibility for the care of over 1,000 patients with heart failure. She believes the Dream Big: Fix Broken Hearts campaign will enable the Cardiology Division at the MUHC to break new ground in cardiac care.

“In 10 years, Montreal will have the lowest rate of hospitalization and fewest deaths due to heart disease in Canada,” says Dr. Nadia Giannetti. “We will do this by developing new tools so we can provide better and more efficient care, by diagnosing earlier, and developing personalized treatments across a patient’s entire lifespan.”

The MUHC is also among the few hospitals in Canada with an integrated research institute and clinical trials unit. This means most of its 50 heart doctors and surgeons are also researchers. Setbacks at the bedside can spark research in the lab, clinical trials down the hall, and life-saving therapies for the patient.

In recent years the MUHC’s clinician scientists were instrumental in establishing Canadian and American guidelines in disease prevention and imaging, as well as in managing high blood pressure, stroke and cholesterol. They pioneered techniques for saving the lives of those who grow up with heart disease. They were the first in Quebec to implant a smart, fully automatic pacemaker, and the first in the province to implant a pacemaker synchronized to the patient’s heart electricity. The MUHC’s Cardiology team was also the world leader in implanting a minimally-invasive cardiac device to keep a transplant patient alive following acute organ rejection. Furthermore, the MUHC was the first in the world to unblock arteries using a revolutionary new catheter invented in Canada, as well as the first world-wide to use a medical “jackhammer” to pulverize arterial calcium deposits with shock waves. All of these pioneering technologies—firsts at home and around the world—mean the expertise found at the MUHC is staggering, and its Cardiology Division is well positioned to make further discoveries to the benefit of heart patients.

Fix Broken Hearts

MUHC Foundation President Julie Quenneville at Fix Broken Hearts
campaign launch

Having launched the campaign only last month, the MUHC Foundation is pleased to extend its gratitude to the Courtois Foundation for its extraordinary $18 million donation to Dream Big: Fix Broken Hearts. It is the largest single gift in the Foundation’s history, and one which will allow the MUHC’s team of experts to pioneer tomorrow’s precision medicine in cardiovascular diseases by mapping out patients’ personal signatures – the genes, lifestyle factors and physical traits that make each individual unique.

“The MUHC’s Cardiology division is fundamentally rethinking how they treat Montrealers with heart and vascular conditions,” says MUHC Foundation President Julie Quenneville. “How fundamental is this shift in patient care? If the disease is a lifelong journey, then they are reinventing the road. We are very proud to support their plan to fix broken hearts.”

“The Courtois Foundation made this commitment because we believe in the outstanding researchers and health professionals in the cardiovascular field and the many advances in diagnostic techniques at the MUHC,” says Jacques Courtois, President of the Courtois Foundation. “Montreal is a world leader in the AI community, and there is a good opportunity now to use this to make a significant leap in the standard of cardiovascular care.”

With the gift from the Courtois Foundation, the MUHC’s Cardiology Division has developed a comprehensive new study to change the way our health teams treat heart disease. The flagship Courtois Signature Study is a 10-year project that will address some of the most troubling questions our doctors face every day.

“The MUHC is the number one research hospital in Quebec,” notes MUHC Foundation Chair Norman Steinberg. “We believe in the Cardiology Division’s plan to stop the progression of heart disease across the lifespan. This campaign is about dreaming big, and it will change the course of lives and medicine.”

Join the MUHC Foundation, and help fix broken hearts. www.muhcfoundation.com

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