Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) is celebrating another important milestone in heart care. State-of-the-art
equipment for the second cardiac intervention suite is being installed which will allow the health centre to ramp-up
heart services and soon provide around-the-clock advanced cardiac care.
“In the spring of 2020, the heart program is scheduled to begin providing care 24/7. That means paramedics will begin
transporting heart attack patients from across North Simcoe Muskoka directly to RVH for treatment, bypassing other
local emergency departments,” explains Dr. Mark Kotowycz, medical director of the Cardiac Intervention Unit. “This is
a very important step because the faster a patient can be treated, the better the outcome. When it comes to the heart,
‘time is muscle.’ ”
RVH will also begin implanting new and replacement pacemakers this fall.
“We plan to begin pacemaker implant procedures by October,” explains Dr. Seeger Shen, RVH cardiologist and
cardiac electrophysiologist. “Having this service available closer to home means that some pacemaker patients in this
region will not have to travel outside the area to have their procedure.”
RVH opened its regional heart program, a partnership with Southlake Regional Health Centre, in January 2018 and
since then has completed over 2,500 heart procedures. In keeping with its safe, gradual ramp-up plan, RVH began
with scheduled diagnostic angiograms then expanded to more advanced cardiac procedures such as angioplasty.
RVH’s Cardiac Intervention Unit is a 16-bed, 14,300 square-foot space which includes two procedure rooms featuring
first-in-Canada technology to perform cardiac angiograms, angioplasty and, soon, pacemaker implantation. RVH also
has a dedicated Cardiac Care Unit to provide intensive care to heart patients, an Urgent Cardiac Clinic in its
Emergency department, as well as a 32-bed Cardiac Renal unit.
“Having these advanced cardiac services, and a highly-skilled team, including two cardiac interventionalists, at RVH
means that most patients in North Simcoe Muskoka will be able to get lifesaving intervention within 90 minutes of a
heart attack,” says Selma Mitchell, operations director of RVH’s Simcoe Muskoka Regional Heart Program.
Photo: Mike Yrcha, manager, Cardiac Intervention Unit and Cardiac Care Unit, RVH, and cardiologist and cardiac
electrophysiologist, Dr. Seeger Shen, are shown in the second cardiac intervention suite currently being equipped and expected to be operational by the end of September.