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About Sickkids
About SickKids

April 13, 2005

SickKids celebrates 15 years of heart transplantation

TORONTO (April 13, 2005) – Staff and patients are celebrating 15 years of clinical and research advances in heart transplantation at The Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) on Thursday April 14. Since the Sick Kids Cardiac Transplant Program began in 1990, over 155 heart transplants have been performed at the hospital, establishing Sick Kids as one of the largest paediatric heart transplant centres in North America.

Sick Kids performs on average 10 to 15 heart transplants each year, accounting for more than 80 per cent of Canada's paediatric heart transplants. The Cardiac Transplant Program offers a multi-disciplinary approach team that places special emphasis on post-transplant care to ensure better outcomes, improved quality of life and a higher survival rate among transplant patients.

In 1996, groundbreaking research by Dr. Lori West, section head of the Sick Kids Cardiac Transplant Program, led to the discovery that infants could safely and successfully accept heart transplants of a different blood type, also known as an ABO-incompatible heart transplant. This innovative approach has vastly improved the organ donor crisis for infants worldwide, contributing to a decrease in wait times for a donor heart and deaths of infants on the waiting list. Twenty-four children at Sick Kids and 56 children around the world have received ABO-incompatible heart transplants


WHAT: Sick Kids Cardiac Transplant Program doctors reunite with patients who received a
heart transplant at Sick Kids. Doctors and patient families will be available for interviews.

WHO: Dr. Anne Dipchand, staff cardiologist and clinical head of the Sick Kids Cardiac Transplant Program.

Dr. Lori West, staff cardiologist, scientist and section head of the Sick Kids Cardiac Transplant Program.

Robbie Thompson, 7, and his mother Sue Thompson, from Courtenay, British Columbia. In 1999, at 18 months old, Robbie received his first transplant after an 11-month wait for a heart to become available. In November 2002, Robbie was again listed for a transplant and after a five-month wait, received a second heart transplant in May 2003.

Caleb Schroeder, 9, and his father Harry Schroeder, from Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1996, at three weeks of age, Caleb was the first infant in the world to receive an ABO-incompatible heart transplant. The procedure was performed at Sick Kids.

Seth Delguidice, 7, and his parents Christine and Rick Delguidice, from Barrie, Ontario. In 1999, Seth was the first child over a year old to successfully receive an ABO-incompatible heart transplant at Sick Kids.

WHEN: Thursday April 14 from 10 – 11 a.m.

WHERE: Marnie’s Lounge, 4th floor, Black Wing
(take the Black Wing elevators, near the University Ave. entrance, to the 4th floor)
The Hospital for Sick Children
555 University Ave.

Did you know…

  • Almost a quarter of Sick Kids’ heart transplant patients are from out of province.
  • Sick Kids heart transplant patients have a 75 per cent survival rate over a 15-year period.
  • Comprehensive post-transplant care is provided at Sick Kids by a multi-disciplinary team of paediatric cardiologists, nursing specialists, social workers, dietitians, occupational and physical therapists, pharmacists and psychiatrists.
  • The Sick Kids Cardiac Transplant Program also has a traveling cardiac clinic that visits other programs across Canada once a year for patient follow-up and transplant education.
  • Sick Kids uses leading edge technology, such as the Ventricular Assist Device system, to help children survive longer waits for a suitable donor heart.
  • There is no average length of time to receive a heart. Some children have waited up to a year until they were matched with a donor heart, whereas others have been transplanted on the same day they were listed.
  • Sick Kids is the only Canadian centre participating in a North American study tracking paediatric heart transplant patients.

The Hospital for Sick Children, affiliated with the University of Toronto, is Canada’s most research-intensive hospital and the largest centre dedicated to improving children’s health in the country. Its mission is to provide the best in family-centred, compassionate care, to lead in scientific and clinical advancement, and to prepare the next generation of leaders in child health.

For more information, please contact:

Media Contact
Public Affairs
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-6380
Fax: 416-813-5328