A new transplant to the Okanagan has a vision of what the future will be like to keep British Columbian’s hearts beating.
Recently appointed as head of cardiac surgery for the Interior Health Cardiac Services Program at Kelowna General Hospital, Dr. Guy Fradet noted his job is to put a team together and provide vision. He pointed out what the cardiac program is bringing to the table is the next step in treatment, short of actual heart transplants.
“I feel honoured to have been given the opportunity to participate in the creation of this new cardiac surgical centre, which will complement and enhance the already-established Interior Health Cardiac Services program. It is my goal to develop a strong and broad program that encompasses all areas of cardiac surgery, providing Southern Interior residents ready local access to a breadth of top-level services.”
He outlined the gradual formation of a tertiary care centre. Tertiary care centres involve specialized treatment, with sophisticated technologies and multiple specialists. They are often formed around university hospitals and operate as centres of learning for medical students as well as working facilities.
Fradet noted that cardiac care is also changing rapidly, and there is no certainty what it will be like five years from now. He pointed to a recent car accident victim who suffered heart trauma. Traditional invasive surgery had a 10 to 15 per cent chance of killing the patient, but the insertion of a catheter to repair the aneurysm in her heart instead, now sees the patient doing fine five years later.
He noted the technology currently exists for nanoscale robots to enter the bloodstream and remove plaque. Fradet added that acquiring the technology and the equipment to support such work might take 10 years.
“We have to plan for in between,” he said.
His vision for the next five years includes a wide variety of cardiac services. Many of the specialized procedures will address patients with complex or high-risk conditions.
“It can be a difficult journey because it is a big program, but if we forget politics and regional battles and focus on what’s best for the patient, it will be an easy journey.”
Cardiologist Dr. Richard Hooper noted the growth of the cardiac surgery unit and addition of a second catheter lab will allow the unit to handle the volume of patients that come from around rural British Columbia.
Fradet will begin performing open heart surgery at KGH by the end of 2012.
Two existing operating rooms in KGH will be renovated for use by cardiac surgery until the permanent heart centre building opens in 2016.