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About Sickkids
About SickKids


The Hospital for Sick Children
Staff Cardiologist

University of Toronto

Other Positions

Camp Oki
Founder and Medical Director

Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada
Board of Directors

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
Past President and Member of Council

Phone: 416-813-6140
Fax: 416-813-7547
Email: joel.kirsh@sickkids.ca
Alternate Contact: Shelley Kahn
Alternate Phone: 416-813-7654 x 202604
Alternate Email: shelley.kahn@sickkids.ca

For more information, visit:

The Labatt Family Heart Centre

Brief Biography

Dr. Kirsh is a paediatric cardiac electrophysiologist focusing on heart rhythm abnormalities. After graduate training in biomedical engineering at Northwestern University in Chicago, Kirsh attended medical school at the University of Toronto followed by postgraduate training in Toronto, London and Boston, eventually returning to Toronto as staff in the Division of Cardiology. He is also cross-appointed in the Cardiac Critical Care program.

Kirsh is the Founder and Medical Director of Camp Oki, a charitably supported summer camp for children with heart disease supported by the SickKids Foundation, and which operates through the Labatt Family Heart Centre.

As a consultant to the Chief Coroner’s Office, Kirsh was involved in the development of Ontario’s investigative framework for Sudden Unexplained Deaths and remains actively engaged in the prevention of sudden cardiac death in children and young adults. He advocated for the establishment of charitable Public-Access Defibrillation programs in multiple school districts including the Toronto School Board, the largest such program in the world when it was launched in 2006.

More recently, Kirsh has served as Vice President and President of the Medical Staff Association of the Hospital for Sick Children, including four years’ service on the Hospital’s Board of Trustees, and Member of Council and President of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. In 2015, he completed a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Management from Harvard University.

Kirsh is a volunteer Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada, and chairs the Humanitarian Awards Committee at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre of the University Health Network.

Clinical Care Activities

  • General Paediatric Cardiology
  • Catheter Ablation of Cardiac Arrhythmias
  • Pacemaker/Defibrillator Implantation & Management
  • Diagnosis and Management of Inherited/Familial Heart Rhythm Disorders


Arrhythmias, Ablation, Pacing and Sudden Death

Kirsh JA, Gross GJ, O'Connor S, Hamilton RM, for the Cryocath International Patient Registry: Transcatheter cryoablation of tachyarrhythmias in children:  Initial experience from an international registry.  Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2005: 45: pp 133-136.

Kirsh JA, Stephenson EA, Redington AN: Recovery of left ventricular systolic function after biventricular resynchronization pacing in a child with repaired Tetralogy of Fallot and severe biventricular dysfunction.  Circulation 2006: 113: pp 691-2.

Kwong W, Neilson AL, Hamilton RM, Chiu CC, Stephenson EA, Gross GJ, Soucie L, Kirsh JA: The effect of NavX on fluoroscopy times in pediatric catheter ablation.  Journal of Interventional Cardiac Electrophysiology 2011.

Pilmer CM, Porter B, Kirsh JA, Hicks AL, Gledhill N, Jamnik V, Faught BE, Hildebrandt D, McCartney N, Gow RM, Goodman J, Krahn AD: Scope and Nature of Sudden Cardiac Death before age 40 in Ontario: A Report from the Cardiac Advisory Committee of the Office of the Chief Coroner.  Heart Rhythm 2013: 10 (4): pp 517-523. (Apr)

Pilmer CM, Kirsh JA, Hildebrandt D, Krahn AD, Gow RM: Sudden Cardiac Death in children and adolescents between 1 and 19 years of age. Heart Rhythm 2014: 11 (2): pp 239-245.(Feb)  

Asakai H, Kirsh JA. Optimizing outcomes of catheter ablation in infants and toddlers. Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy 2015:  13 (3): pp 333-340. (Mar)

Swissa M, Birk E, Dagan T, Fogelman M, *Einbinder T, Bruckheimer E, Goldenberg I, Klempfner R, Kirsh JA, Fogelman R. Cryotherapy ablation of parahisian accessory pathways in children. Heart Rhythm 2015: 12 (5): pp 917-925. (May)

Saul JP, Kanter RJ, Abrams D, Sam Asirvatham S, Bar-Cohen Y, Blaufox AD, Cannon B, Clark J, Dick M, Freter A, Kertesz NJ, Kirsh JA, Kugler J, LaPage M, McGowan FX, MD, Miyake CY, Nathan A, Papagiannis J, Paul T, Pflaumer A, Skanes AC,  Stevenson WG, Von Bergen N, Zimmerman F. PACES/HRS Expert Consensus Statement on the use of Catheter Ablation in Children and Patients with Congenital Heart Disease. Developed in partnership with the Pediatric and Congenital Electrophysiology Society (PACES) and the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS). Endorsed by the governing bodies of PACES, HRS, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Heart Association (AHA). Heart Rhythm 2016: 13 (6) e251-e289. (Jun)

Paediatric Heart Disease

Freedman SB, Haladyn KJ, Floh A, Kirsh JA, Taylor G, Thull-Freedman J: Myocarditis: Clinical Findings and Diagnostic Evaluation.  Pediatrics 2007: 120: pp 1278-1285.

Moola F, Faulker GEJ, Kirsh JA, Kilburn J: Physical activity and sport participation in youth with congenital heart disease: perceptions of children and parents.  Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly 2008: 25: pp 49-70.

Atz AM, Travison TG, Williams IA, Rychik J, Mahle W, Laussen P, Cook A, Pearson GD, Kirsh J, Sklansky M, Khaikin S, Goldberg C, Frommelt M, Krawczeski C, Puchalski M, Jacobs J, Baffa JM, Ohye RG: Prenatal Diagnosis and Risk Factors for Preoperative Death in Neonates with Single Right Ventricle and Systemic Outflow Obstruction: Screening Data from the PHN Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial.  Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2010: 140: pp 1245-50.

Moola F, Fusco C, Kirsh JA: "What I Wish You Knew": Social Barriers Towards Physical Activity in Youth with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD).  Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly 2011: 28: pp 56-77.

Moola F, Fusco C, Kirsh JA: The perceptions of caregivers toward physical activity and health in youth with congenital heart disease.  Qualitative Health Research 2011: 21: pp 278-291.

Moola FJ, Faulkner GEJ, Kirsh JA, Schneiderman J: Developing Exercise Interventions for Children with Cystic Fibrosis and Congenital Heart Disease: Learning from their Parents.  Psychology of Sport and Exercise 2011: 12: pp 599-608.

Tabbutt S, Ghanayem N, Ravishankar C, Sleeper L, Cooper D, Frank D, Lu M, Pizarro C, Frommelt P, Goldberg C, Graham E, Krawczeski C, Lai W, Lewis A, Kirsh J, Mahony L, Ohye R, Simsic J, Lodge A, Spurrier E, Stylianou M, Laussen P: Risk factors for hospital morbidity and mortality after the Norwood procedure: A report from the Pediatric Heart Network Single Ventricle Reconstruction trial.  Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2012.

Ohye R, Schonbeck J, Eghtesady P, Laussen P, Pizarro C, Shrader P, Frank D, Graham E, Hill K, Jacobs J, Kanter K, Kirsh J, Lambert L, Lewis A, Ravishankar C, Tweddell J, Williams I, Pearson D for the Pediatric Heart Network Investigators: Cause, Timing and Location of Death in the Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial.  Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2012.

Moola FJ, Faulkner GE, *White L, Kirsh JA. The psychological and social impact of camp for children with chronic illnesses: a systematic review update. Child: Care, Health and Development 2014: 40 (5): pp 615-631. (Sep).

Moola F, Faulkner G, *White L, Kirsh JA. Kids with special hearts: the experience of children with congenital heart disease at Camp Willowood. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 2014: Epub ahead of print (Jan).

Oster ME, Chen S, Gerstenberger E, Bar-Cohen Y, Brothers M, Cain N, Colan SD, Czosek RJ, Decker JA, Gamboa DG, Idriss SF, Kirsh JA, LaPage MJ, Ohye RG, Radojewski E, Shah M, Silver ES, Singh A, Temple J, Triedman J, Kaltman JR. Development and Impact of Arrhythmias Following the Norwood Procedure: A Report from the Pediatric Heart Network. Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 2016.

Friedberg MK, Schwartz SM, Zhang H, Chiu-Man C, Manlhoit C, Van Arsdell G, Kirsh JA, Ilina MV, Stephenson EA.  Hemodynamic effects of Post-operative Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy in Infants Following Repair of Congenital Heart Disease: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial. Heart Rhythm, 2016.

White LC, Moola FJ, Kirsh JA, Faulkner GEJ. A therapeutic recreation camp for children with congenital heart disease: Examining impact on the psychosocial well-being of caregivers. Journal of Family Studies 2016;25:3034.

Johnson JT, Sleeper LA, Chen S, Ohye RG, Gaies MG, Williams IA, Sachdeva R, Pruetz JD, Tatum GH, Thacker D, Brunetti MA, Frommelt MA, Jacobs JP, Kirsh JA, Lambert LM, Newburger JW, Pemberton VL, Zyblewski SC, Divanovic AA, Pinto NM. Pediatric Heart Network Investigators. Associations between day of admission and day of surgery on outcome and resource utilization in infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome undergoing stage I palliation from the Single Ventricle Reconstruction Trial. American Journal of Cardiology 2015: 116 (8): pp 1263-1269. (Oct)


Templeton C, Kirsh JA: Paediatric Cardiology: Looking back, looking forward.  Pediatrics and Child Health 2009: 14.  

Kirsh JA: Orbits and implants: trends in indications, utilization and complications in pediatric device therapy.  Heart Rhythm 2012.

Kirsh JA. Finding the proverbial needle in a haystack - Identifying pre-symptomatic individuals with Long QT Syndrome. Heart Rhythm 2013: 10 (2): pp 239-240. (Feb)

Kirsh JA. When is a “pathway” not a pathway? Explaining late recurrences after successful ablation of pediatric AVNRT. Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2016;9:e004650. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCEP.116.004650.