Avoiding the pain of open heart surgery

New procedures will reduce need for open-heart surgery in certain patients with congenital heart disease.

Once again, the Montreal Children’s Hospital is at the forefront of innovation in patient care. Thanks to a procedure performed for the first time in February at The Montreal Children’s Hospital, four patients were spared from open-heart surgery and the painful recovery which follows.

The procedure, which was developed in England by Dr. Philippe Bonhoeffer, has already been done in Quebec, Toronto and Edmonton and now, the Montreal Children’s Hospital is also offering it to patients. The intervention consists of inserting a pulmonary valve with the help of a catheter instead of performing an open-heart surgery.

According to MCH cardiologist Dr. Adrian Dancea, the procedure will considerably reduce the number of patients who have to undergo surgery or, at the very least, reduce the number of surgeries required.

With the help of Toronto cardiologist Dr. Lee Benson, who has already implanted 20 such valves percutaneously  a dozen professionals from the McGill Centre of Excellence for Congenital Heart Disease of the McGill University Health Centre performed the operation for the first time in Montreal. The pediatric cardiology team of the Montreal Children’s Hospital is an important part of the Centre of Excellence that provides care to patients with congenital heart malformations from birth to old age.

Four of those patients, two adults and two teens, benefited from this extraordinary new procedure. Three patients were discharged home early after their procedure, and one stayed only three days  instead of undergoing open-heart surgery followed by at least one week’s stay at the hospital and a long convalescence at home.