The Need for Advanced Cardiac Care at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre

With your support, we will see the following results:

  • Diagnosis, intervention and post-care treatment will all occur at RVH
  • Cardiac patients will be directly triaged to cardiac unit – no wait in Emergency
  • Enhanced cardiac rehabilitation & preventative care programs
  • 1,600 diagnostic catheterization procedures
  • 400 interventional procedures (angioplasty)
  • Measureable heart muscle saved from immediate treatment
  • A high quality cardiac program will attract 5 – 7 highly skilled cardiologists and cardiac trained nurses
  • 2,861 annual Cardiac Catheter Procedures
  • 1,017 annual Percutaneous Coronary Interventions

Bob Kennedy didn’t know what hit him. 

Always on top of his game this active 60-year-old got pushed to the sidelines when a heart attack came running at him from left field.

“All of a sudden I felt shortness of breath and weakness in my legs,” recalls Bob, who pushed it aside thinking it was simple indigestion. Bob was going to ride the pain out until a colleague urged him to head to the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre’s (RVH) Emergency department.”

That was in April 2012. The incident changed his life and opened his eyes for the need for advanced cardiac care close to home. The current lack of advanced cardiac care within Simcoe Muskoka is a serious concern. RVH is working hard to bring advanced cardiac care to Simcoe Muskoka. Currently, if a patient called an ambulance with cardiac symptoms, they would be taken directly to Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket. If they instead went to their local hospital emergency room, they would need to be stabilized first and then transferred by ambulance to Southlake. Such was the case for Bob.

“I was perplexed as to why I would have to be moved from a great regional centre to a facility in another city to receive treatment? The fact that I was unable to have the procedure I needed in the health centre where I was admitted only added to my ordeal.”

Bob asks a great question and he is not alone!

Barrie Examiner Article - Bob Kennedy

Dr. Brad Dibble, Interim Physician Lead, Cardiovascular Program, treating patients in the new Cardiac Care Unit is an important first step to providing advanced cardiac care to the residents of Simcoe and Muskoka.

North Simcoe Muskoka is the only region in Ontario that does not provide advanced cardiac services within its boundaries, and as a result, about 3,000 local patients travel to Newmarket for advanced heart procedures each year.

RVH is working to address this need. The North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) has endorsed RVH as the site for the development of an advanced cardiac program, with the support and mentorship of Southlake Regional Health Centre. This program would provide advanced cardiac diagnostics and interventions, such as cardiac catheterization, coronary angioplasty and set the stage for further advancements in the future, such as pacemaker implantation.

Already, progress has been made. In December 2012, RVH opened the region’s first Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) followed by the health centre’s new 32-bed Cardiac Renal inpatient unit.

"The dedicated Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) means that the sickest heart patients in the community will now be looked after by staff with expertise dedicated to their care. It means those heart patients will have access to the best equipment, the best nurses, and the best doctors for the job,” says RVH cardiologist, Dr. Brad Dibble. “Specialized units like this are usually found in the largest city hospitals and those connected to universities.

This is a great advancement for RVH and for our region.” This unit, located in RVH’s new expansion, provides intensive cardiac care close to home and sets the stage for bringing advanced cardiac services to the region, ensuring heart patients throughout Simcoe Muskoka have access to life-saving cardiac treatment. Patients returning from angioplasty at Southlake will now receive their post-procedure care in the CCU instead of the RVH Intensive Care Unit, providing more specialized follow-up.

“RVH’s Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) includes space ideal for development of Advanced Cardiac Care. RVH’s cardiologist has already been performing advanced cardiac diagnostic procedures in Newmarket for many years,” says Selma Mitchell, Director, Cardiovascular Program, RVH. “Developing a stand-alone cardiac intervention facility at RVH, in partnership with Southlake Regional Health Centre, will allow the vast majority of the region’s residents who suffer a heart attack to have access to treatment within the crucial 90 minutes of a heart attack.”

A Population at Risk

• 65,400 people over the age of 65 (15.2%)

• 73,150 people living with hypertension (17%)

• 29,260 people living with diabetes (6.8%)

• 20,200 people living with heart disease (4.7%

• 87,350 people who smoke daily (20.3%)

• 118,000 people who drink more than 5 drinks on one occasion in one month over the last 12 months (27.5%)

• 89,000 people are obese (20.7%)

• 104,500 people who reported they have high stress levels (24.3%)

All of these numbers are higher than provincial averages and contribute to heart disease.
Bob Kennedy