Nurse standing in front of monitor
Lydia Murphy, cardiology nurse

Cardiac care for a diverse community

MGH is on the fast track to being a leading institution in cardiac care thanks to donor support.

From our state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab to our inpatient cardiac integrated unit, Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) is on the fast track to being a leading institution in cardiac care. Our doctors specialize in all services from angiograms, echocardiograms, exercise and stress labs, pacemakers, heart failure clinic and paediatric services.

MGH’s wide-ranging cardiology program responds to the needs of our community. We know that heart disease affects our population at high levels. In fact ischemic heart disease—caused by obstruction of the inflow of arterial blood— is the leading cause of premature mortality in 16 of the 22 neighbourhoods in our catchment area.

Cardiac diseases are chronic by nature, so it’s not possible to cure them. Instead, cardiology clinicians work closely with patients to help them manage the disease and minimize the risk of acute phases. Many of our patients are monitored regularly, and visit the hospital frequently for results.

“Building relationships with our patients is important,” says Larisa Tshantshapanyan, echo technical lead at MGH. “Some of our physicians will see the same patients over many years, so we are very close to our community."

I’ve worked in other hospitals, but MGH is my favourite, because it’s a community hospital. There’s a really special bond between patients and medical staff. It makes my work very meaningful.”Leading-edge cardiac catheterization lab

Cardiac catheterization is a procedure during which a cardiologist inserts a thin, hollow tube into a large blood vessel that leads to the heart. It provides information about blood pressure and patterns of blood flow to determine how effectively the heart is functioning, identifies problems and allows for procedures to open blocked arteries.

MGH’s cardiac catheterization lab (cath lab) is one of only 19 such facilities in Ontario, and was completely renovated in 2017. The cath lab now features a leading-edge Philips machine with powerful processing capability that rotates in curved trajectories around the patient, allowing imaging from all views in a single run. Procedures take less time, require much less injected dye and the high-resolution imagery makes it possible to see abnormalities. Since opening in December 2001, the staff in our cath lab has cared for approximately 2,000 patients each year.

Non-invasive cardiac labs

MGH’s lab team provides diagnostic testing to find out how the heart functions at rest and under stress. Testing includes a full range of programs including stress testing,echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, cardiology nuclear medicine test and Holter monitor test.

“Our lab is very advanced” says Larisa. “Not all hospitals offer the programs we do, like paediatric care, bike exercise and echocardiograms. Having all of these services in one place means patients can stay at MGH for all of their cardiac care.”

Looking ahead to our new facility 

In less than two years, the Zeena and Farid Amarshi Family Cardiac Centre will join the kidney centre and the chest centre to form the chronic disease unit in our new Ken and Marilyn Thomson Patient Care Centre.

“We’re very excited; our new space will be bigger and much better,” says Larisa. “Right now we frequently have to work with infection prevention and control to monitor air quality for our patients who require proper ventilation.In the summer, we had to install a portable air conditioner because our stress lab was so hot. People are already anxious when they come to us; our space doesn’t help.”

“Our cardiology team is amazing, and soon, thanks to donor support, we’ll have state of the art facilities to match the excellent level of care we provide.”

“It means a lot that donors want to support my work. It changes everything. We all realize our government is not providing enough support, so knowing we have
incredible donors who value the work we do, means the world to us. Thank you.”
- Larisa Tshantshapanyan, echo technical lead