The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC Opens State-of-the-art Heart Catheterization and Angiography Suite

Thousands of children...thousands of stories...countless tugs on your heart strings  

Angio Suite is where infants, children and teens with heart problems and congenital heart defects are diagnosed and treated

Care for life at the MUHC: from the fetus to old age

 Tracy Eck was born with a communications between the two chambers of her heart. Basically, there was a hole in her heart that measured nine by 12 millimeters – the size of a marble. The athletic 17-year old says it didn’t hurt, but she would be left winded and physically exhausted after playing basketball or handball. Tracy says she has had ‘oh about a million’ check-ups at The Children’s since birth. During a recent visit in November, Tracy found out the hole had gotten larger and she would require a cardiac catheterization to patch it up. She underwent the procedure on November 5. Dr. Adrian Dancea inserted a thin plastic tube (catheter) into an artery of Tracy ’s leg. From there, he threaded the catheter all the way up to her heart where he was then able to put a patch over the hole.

Tracy is just one of the thousands of children treated over the years at The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC for major heart problems, including congenital heart defects (when the heart is malformed in the womb). To better care for these fetuses, newborns, children and adolescents, The Children’s officially opened its Heart Catheterization and Angiography Suite today. A state-of-the-art lab chalk full of the latest technology. The array of new machinery improves the accuracy of diagnosis of heart defects and is much more flexible and user friendly. The new Angio Suite allows The Children’s team of five cardiologists and one cardiac surgeon to do more complex procedures. Another great feature, it enables The Children’s to forward test results via a secure internet connection to referring physicians which speeds-up the treatment process and follow-up care.

When little 16-month old Alexandre Charlebois was born everything seemed fine. It was only during his first check-up at one month that his pediatrician diagnosed a congenital heart defect. One of the valves of his heart was not opening properly and his other valve was working overtime to compensate. He could have died. In fact, when his mum Anne- Marie Gauthier handed her baby over to Dr. Dancea who was to perform a cardiac catheterization she was certain she would never see him alive again. But he came through with flying colours. Today he’s in great health, although down the road The Children’s cardiac surgeon Dr. Christo Tchervenkov may have to perform open heart surgery to replace the defective valve.

“The new Angio suite is great,” says Dr. Dancea, a pediatric cardiologist at The Children’s. “It allows me to be much more accurate when diagnosing and repairing heart problems such as congenital heart defects. When you consider the heart of a new born is the size of an egg, any piece of equipment that improves accuracy means better outcomes for the children of Quebec .”

Benjamin Silverman is a twin and was diagnosed with a complex congenital heart disease before he was even born thanks to a fetal echocardiography. He has since undergone several heart catheterizations and cardiac surgeries but now enjoys pre-school and can keep-up with his twin sister.

As a part of the MUHC, The Children’s offers its patients a unique benefit – continuity of care. Basically, our patients move seamlessly from pediatric care to adult care. In the field of congenital heart defects, the McGill Centre for Excellence in Congenital Heart Defects provides continuity of care from the fetus to old age. Once children turn 18, they ‘graduate’ from The Children’s and move to adult care at The Montreal General Hospital. The pediatric and adult cardiologists work very closely together. This collaboration and partnership will be greatly enhanced once The Children’s and its adult counterpart move to the Glen Campus and all patients with congenital heart defects are treated in one location under the same roof.

Take Darren Prentice as an example. He is 36-years old. At age seven, cardiologists at The Children’s discovered his aortic valve was abnormal. He has since undergone several cardiac catheterizations and three different procedures including open-heart surgery to fix the problem. The first two procedures were at The Children’s of the MUHC. His most recent surgery - just a couple of months ago - took place at the Montreal General Hospital of the MUHC where he is now being treated by a team of cardiologists who take care of children who at the age of 18 “graduate” from The Children’s and are transferred to an MUHC adult site.

The Children’s would like to thank the Government of Quebec for contributing $2.5-million for most of the equipment in the new $4-million Heart Catheterization and Angiography Suite and the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation and the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation for paying the balance for the equipment and renovations. “It is gratifying to know both the Ministry of Health and the community support The Children’s cardiology and cardiac surgery program,” says Dr. Marie Béland, director of pediatric cardiology at The Children’s. “The Children’s has always been a pioneer in these two fields and with this new equipment we will continue to be innovative and continue providing the children of Quebec with the best medical care available.”

Émile Jutras is 5 years old. In 2002, he spent a total of 126 days on life support at The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC after presenting in heart failure from a muscle disorder of the heart. Émile was the first child in Canada and youngest child in North America to receive a mechanical heart as a bridge to a heart transplant. He has undergone several heart catheterizations to monitor how his new heart is doing.

All of the equipment in the new Angio Suite is upgradeable and will move with The Children’s to the Glen Campus.

The Montreal Children’s Hospital is the pediatric teaching hospital of the McGill University Health Centre. This institution is a leader in the care and treatment of sick infants, children, and adolescents from across Quebec . The Montreal Children’s Hospital provides a high level and broad scope of health care services, and provides ultra specialized care in many fields including: cardiology and cardiac surgery; neurology and neurosurgery, traumatology; genetic research; psychiatry and child development and musculoskeletal conditions, including orthopedics and rheumatology. Fully bilingual and multicultural, the institution respectfully serves an increasingly diverse community in more than 50 languages.


For more information please contact:

Lisa Dutton
Manager Public Relations and Communications
The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC
(514) 412-4307