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Heart surgery chair a first for Quebec


Montreal, QC – The Universit de Montral (UdeM) and the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) this week unveiled the Michal and Renata Hornstein Heart Surgery Chair, said to be the first chair of its type in Quebec. The chair has received a total of $1.5 million in funding from Montreal philanthropist Michal Hornstein ($1 million), the ICM Research Centre ($250,000), the UDM ($200,000) and the dean of the UDM’s Faculty of medicine, cardiologist Dr Jean Rouleau ($50,000).

The clinical research chair, presented to Dr Michel Pellerin, chief of surgery at the Montreal Heart Institute and associate professor of surgery at the Universit de Montral, will allow the MHI to establish a program for minimally invasive valvular surgery unique in Quebec. In addition, the heart surgery chair will pursue the development of techniques and equipment needed for this innovative type of surgery. In the longer term, it will also develop a robotic heart surgery program.

“For more than 30 years, Michal Hornstein has been contributing to Quebec by supporting many different causes,” says Robert Lacroix, rector of the Universit de Montral. “Already recognized for his commitment to fine arts and health, Mr Hornstein is continuing his philanthropic work, and we feel very privileged to have received the support that he is providing today to leading-edge clinical and scientific heart surgery research.”

One of the MHI’s surgeons is presently studying at Aalst in Belgium, one of the few centers in the world where this type of surgery is now performed. When the surgeon returns to Montreal, he will train his colleagues and together they will develop an innovative program for treating the hundreds of patients requiring reconstructive heart valve surgery every year.

There is no typical profile for patients with mitral valve pathology. It attacks men and women of every age, regardless of their lifestyle. This acquired disease is characterized by an anomaly of the support tissue, making the valve increasingly “insufficient.” At the Montreal Heart Institute alone, approximately 600 patients undergo valvular heart surgery every year, representing 35% to 40% of all elective surgery performed at the MHI. The new technique, which uses endoscopic cameras and miniature instruments, provides a remarkable improvement in patient quality of life, easier convalescence and a much shorter hospital stay.