Royal Columbian now busiest in Canada for key heart treatment

New Westminster, B.C. – {May 30, 2019} – The latest indicators from cardiac care centres across the country show Royal Columbian Hospital plays a leading role in the treatment of heart attack patients.

The hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab, as the health region’s emergency room for the heart, performs more angioplasties than any other hospital in the country, according to new data released publicly by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). Angioplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure involving the use of catheters, balloons and stents to open clogged heart arteries. It is a key treatment for heart attacks.

“It’s a testament to the experience and efficiency of our cardiac team,” says Royal Columbian Hospital interventional cardiologist Dr. Gerald Simkus, who is also Fraser Health’s medical director for cardiac sciences. “Royal Columbian performs almost as many emergency angioplasties for heart attacks as the rest of the province combined, and with some of the best survival rates in Canada. It’s very satisfying to take people who are sick, in pain and dying, and literally save their lives.”

In each of the cross-Canada comparisons released by CIHI since its inaugural report in 2017, Royal Columbian has been the busiest in the province and among the busiest in the country. With 2,935 angioplasties during the 2017-18 year, Royal Columbian now becomes Canada’s busiest cardiac cath lab for this lifesaving procedure.

In addition, Royal Columbian Hospital is one of four centres in the country with statistically superior survival rates following angioplasty. The hospital also sees the highest proportion of high-risk cases in the province, involving patients who have suffered cardiac arrest or shock prior to the cardiac intervention.

“As well as being proud of the tremendous accomplishments of our cardiac team, we are also grateful to the numerous donors who support the program,” says Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation President and CEO Jeff Norris. “We have seen an outpouring of generosity from people who recognize the hugely important role our hospital plays in heart care, and during emergencies in particular.”

Donor support for cardiac care at Royal Columbian includes a $3.3 million contribution for a full upgrade of the cath lab’s imaging and monitoring equipment. The upgrade was completed in the fall 2016.

This year, Royal Columbian Hospital’s cardiac program marks its 50th anniversary. In November 1969, the hospital performed its first ever heart catheterization. Angioplasty and cardiac surgery have been provided at Royal Columbian since 1991, and the hospital serves a population of more than 1.8 million, or a third of all British Columbians, in both those programs.

Where BC Fights

As BC’s leading critical care hospital, one in three British Columbians rely on Royal Columbian Hospital. This is where BC fights for hope, and for life. We are the only hospital in BC with trauma, cardiac, neurosciences, high-risk maternity and neonatal intensive care on one site. We look after some of the most seriously ill and injured patients, and we do it with the support of donors like you.

Since 1978, donors to Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation have helped fund priority equipment needs, facility enhancements, research, education and innovation at Royal Columbian Hospital.