February is a time when we think about matters of the heart, including heart health. Unofficially dubbed “Heart Month” by the Heart and Stroke Foundation it serves as a reminder that heart disease remains a real risk for Canadians, including many people living in the Central West region.
Between October and December 2016, Osler had the highest local volume of heart attacks requiring angioplasty for a single health care centre in Ontario. We preform around 2,000 Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (commonly known as coronary angioplasty) procedures in our cardiac catheterization lab each year, a significant increase from the 1,200 procedures we performed just three years ago.
These numbers are staggering but not altogether surprising. There are a number of reasons we’re seeing more heart attacks in our region. Osler serves a large South Asian community, which has a higher rate of heart disease and a greater risk of early death compared to the average Canadian.
Chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are also risk factors for heart attack. According to our partners at the Central West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), our region has the third highest rate of diabetes in Ontario and the number of residents attending local diabetes education programs has increased.
To support the growing number of patients that depend on our cardiac programs and services, cardiac care is a major focus for Osler. Over the past five years we’ve steadily increased the number of programs and services for cardiac patients, such as introducing a 24-7 Code STEMI Program. As we continue to execute 2016-19 Clinical Priorities Plan, we’re continuing to enhance cardiac services by:
- Opening key cardiac services at Peel Memorial including diagnostics, the Cardiac Health and Risk Management (CHARM), cardiac rehabilitation and heart function clinics.
- Using Telemedicine to connect patients to an interdisciplinary team that will support self-management of their care and symptoms.
- Partnering with the City of Brampton to deliver cardiac rehabilitation, ensuring patients receive care in the most appropriate setting.
These enhancements are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to supporting cardiac care at Osler. We’re also participating in ground-breaking research that uses non-invasive therapy to minimize the damage caused by STEMI heart attacks when the patient is en route to hospital. This partnered study is the global-first and could ultimately result in this innovative technique being adopted by health care professionals across Canada and around the world.
Plus, our Live Well with Osler series takes cardiac care to heart this month by offering tips for leading a healthy life after a heart attack. These six heart-friendly tips can help patients lead a happier, healthier life after a cardiac event.
Osler’s incredible staff, physicians and volunteers that support Osler’s comprehensive Cardiac Program are truly putting patients at the “heart” of cardiac care.