Did you know that heart disease affects more newborn babies than any other defect? In Canada, that means almost one in 100 infants is born with a heart problem.
I’m Dr. Letizia Gardin, a pediatric cardiologist at CHEO. Last month you read about a seven year old CHEO patient named Zander. I’m proud to say that I’m Zander’s cardiologist.
While it is sad that we have to treat young children and teens with heart disease, there is good news. Thanks to research, expert care and technological advancements, cardiology patients are living longer than ever. We are so fortunate to have donors like you to support these tiny hearts.
With your donation today, we can help CHEO’s cardiology patients, just like Zander. I’m excited to say that CHEO has been named the official beneficiary of the 2017 CP Women’s Open being held at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club from August 21-27. If you make a donation to CHEO between now and August 27, CP will double your gift through their CP Has Heart program. It’s intended to help CHEO improve our catheterization lab and interventional suite so we can offer better care to our young patients. But we need your help.
I can tell you without hesitation that many of our patients will benefit from this upgrade. We know that with diagnostic procedures patients are exposed to radiation that carries a cancer risk. With newer equipment, patients will be exposed to less radiation.
Imaging equipment now allows for more precise pictures. The heart is a three dimensional organ therefore 3D imaging is useful. The ability to capture pictures all around the heart means we can provide a better level of care and treatment.
This improved facility will allow patients to delay, or in some cases avoid, open heart surgeries. The ability to have less invasive options is vitally important to our young cardiology patients and their families. With early intervention children today are living longer, healthier lives.
CHEO’s cardiologists assess patients with a multitude of problems from heart murmurs, chest pain, palpitations, to those born with heart defects, genetic syndromes and even oncology patients whose medications can affect their heart function. Here at CHEO, cardiologists read electrocardiograms, Holter monitors, stress tests and echocardiograms.
We treat a wide range of young patients and we deal with life and death situations every day. As cardiologists, it is our job to care for babies before they are even born, as premature infants, children, youth and sometimes even young adults in order to provide seamless care.
We are always dealing with a patient’s growing heart. That’s a huge difference in pediatrics. Because a child’s heart (that starts out as the size of a plum pit and grows to the size of your fist) is growing, we must always be watching and evaluating.
In Zander’s case we perform tests to look for any changes that would indicate he needs another procedure. His heart is growing but the hardware inserted into his heart to help it function properly, does not grow along with him. We must watch Zander closely as eventually all of the hardware will need to be replaced.
Some of my patients are faced with scary diagnoses and have restrictions on their activities that have a big impact on their day to day lives. These courageous patients wear their physical scars with confidence. They are so brave. I see it every day. We want to provide them with the safest, fastest interventions that we can in order to let them be their best selves.
With your support, and matching support from CP, we can make a huge difference. The catheterization lab and interventional suite will help our patients today and all the patients that will need CHEO in the future.
I hope you can find it in your heart to make a generous donation today.
Dr. Letizia Gardin
P.S. Please consider becoming a monthly donor. Your gift will help CHEO patients each and every day and thanks to CP your donations will be doubled for the remainder of the year!