Calgary cardiac team performs first HeartNet™ procedure in Canada
A Calgary Health Region cardiac team performed the first Canadian HeartNet™ operation at the Foothills Medical Centre this week. The HeartNet™ is an elastic nickel titanium net placed around the heart. It’s designed to stop or control enlargement of the heart, and alleviate the symptoms of advanced heart failure, which can include extreme fatigue, swelling in the extremities, and shortness of breath.
The procedure is part of an international clinical research study being led by Dr. Debra Isaac, a clinical associate professor at the U of C's Faculty of Medicine, and a Calgary Health Region cardiologist. A team from the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, including Dr. Isaac and Drs. Paul Fedak and Jehangir Appoo, cardiac surgeons, implanted the device in one-hour surgical procedure on Jan. 16.
Calgarian Maggie Thiesen, the first Canadian to have the HeartNet™ implanted, says, “I'm looking forward to moving around without feeling out-of-breath all the time.”
“This surgery creates what we call 'passive restraint'—it doesn't constrict the heart, but prevents it from getting larger, which is common for patients with congestive heart failure,” says Dr. Isaac. “For people like Maggie, this can drastically improve quality of life—all with minimally invasive surgery.”
Heart failure affects half a million Canadians with almost 50,000 new diagnoses annually. Heart failure was the primary cause or a contributor to nearly 25,000 deaths in Canada in 2002.