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2007 – First of its kind Regional Emergency Cardiac Program launched in GTA

Newmarket, Ontario (November 5, 2007) – After a successful six-month pilot, a new cardiac care program is being rolled out north of Toronto that is proving to improve outcomes and save lives of heart attack patients.


The program – launched by Newmarket-based Southlake Regional Health Centre – is all about re-directing residents, who live in York Region or Simcoe County within 45 minutes of the hospital and who paramedics suspect are suffering from a heart attack, to Southlake Regional Health Centre for emergency treatment. Heart attacks are triggered by sudden blockage of the arteries, preventing blood flow to the heart. At Southlake, the heart attack patients undergo life-saving angioplasty – a procedure that re-opens the blocked arteries. Once stabilized following their procedure, patients are transferred to their local hospital for continued care.

“Recent studies have shown that angioplasty is the best emergency treatment for the survival of heart attack patients when performed in a timely manner, particularly for patients who have had pain for more than three hours,” says Dr. Warren Cantor, Interventional Cardiologist at Southlake, which teamed up with the County of Simcoe Paramedic Services, Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, and Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston, to roll out the program.

“This program allows us to provide the best practice standard of care that is crucial in limiting overall damage to the heart muscle,” Dr. Cantor explained, emphasizing that the patient success rate is increased dramatically by having their conditions diagnosed by paramedics in the ambulance. “As a regional centre and leaders in cardiac care, we are pleased to partner with our surrounding hospitals and paramedic services to ensure that all patients are able to receive this lifesaving treatment.”

Prior to this program, York Region and Simcoe County heart attack patients were taken to the emergency department of the nearest local hospital, where they were treated with clot-busting drugs. These drugs are not always successful in restoring blood flow, especially when the artery has been blocked for more than three hours, Dr. Cantor explains. Patients who receive immediate angioplasty experience higher survival rates and lower rates of stroke and repeat heart attack, he said.

In Toronto, cardiac hospitals and Emergency Management Services (EMS) currently provide immediate angioplasty on a more limited basis, with the majority of heart attack patients receiving clot-busting drugs. However, plans are underway to move toward a service similar to Southlake’s over the next one to two years, according to the Cardiac Care Network of Ontario (CCN), a partnership between government, doctors and Ontario hospitals providing advanced cardiac care. CCN works with cardiac hospitals to track the speed of heart attack treatment, and provides support as they work to implement immediate angioplasty.

“We congratulate Southlake and its Simcoe Region partners for taking a leadership role in this area of the province in heart attack treatment,” said Dr. Eric Cohen, Director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and CCN Medical Officer. “The Toronto situation is complex due to the number of hospitals, transportation challenges, and the scope of EMS services, and therefore the ideal model for heart attack care may be slightly different than that of Southlake’s. Nonetheless we are working hard to implement many of the innovations recently achieved at Southlake.”

Southlake Regional Health Centre
596 Davis Drive, Newmarket, Ontario   L3Y 2P9
Tel: 905-895-4521   |   TTY: 905-952-3062
Copyright © 2012 Southlake Regional Health Centre