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Because Of You…Their Heart Is Full

Children's Hospital 2015

Variety Children’s Heart Centre was established in the late 1980’s to provide pediatric cardiac services to Manitoba’s kids.

Staffed by a team of pediatric cardiologists, nurse clinicians, cardiac technologists, social workers and administrative staff; they see approximately 5500 patients a year. This marks a massive increase from the 1500 patients seen annually when the clinic first opened.

“We care for children from across Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwestern Ontario and parts of Saskatchewan,” says Dr. Reeni Soni, Pediatric Cardiologist. “We provide services at Children’s Hospital and St. Boniface Hospital and are part of the Western Canadian Children’s Heart Network.”

Services provided by this extraordinary unit are both varied and complex.

“We see a combination of outpatient and inpatient children ranging from birth to 18 years of age,” says Dr. Soni. “Conditions these kids are dealing with include congenital heart disease, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathies, and acquired heart disease. Many of our patients have undergone complex cardiac surgery and other interventional procedures (such as pacemakers, or heart transplants). We also see pregnant women whose fetuses have cardiac problems.”

Donor support is at the core of this amazing Unit. It was donors that helped establish this clinic in 1987 and helped to fund a clinic upgrade in 2004. Subsequent support from the Children’s Hospital Foundation has provided cardiac equipment such as holter monitors (a portable device that keeps track of heart rhythm).

There is no question donor support saves lives.

“Pediatric cardiac care has undergone a tremendous evolution in the last 30 years,” says Dr. Soni. “Congenital heart defects that used to be uniformly lethal are now associated with mortality rates of less than 10%. Cardiac transplantation has dramatically changed survival for children born with conditions too serious to be offered a surgical repair. Our number of heart transplant patients has gone up by 600% in the last 20 years. Most of our children are surviving into adulthood regardless of how serious their original condition.”

Donor support has also allowed for advancements and research that equip doctors with vital information in anticipation of a high-risk birth.

“We have significantly improved our ability to diagnose cardiac conditions in babies before they are born,” says Dr. Soni. “With that information, planning can be in place to optimize these babies’ chances of having a good outcome.”

Thanks to your support the Variety Children’s Heart Centre has been instrumental in the development of the Western Canadian Children’s Heart Network which is the first network of its kind that provides coordinated pediatric cardiac care across all 4 Western Canadian provinces.

If you want to Heart Your Hospital, click here to learn how.