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Cardiovascular Surgery

Research and Innovation


SickKids has the largest research tower of any children’s hospital in the world with the twenty-one story Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning on our doorstep. Research is a driving force within Cardiovascular Surgery in Toronto.

At SickKids, our projects include:

  • regenerative medicine in stem cell programs
  • the development of better organ preservation for transplantation
  • 3-D modelling and printing of complex heart conditions
  • the development of living bioengineered valves for reconstruction
  • innovative new hybrid techniques
  • minimally invasive cardiac surgery
  • new ways to protect premature babies from the risks of surgery
  • developing registries to follow up the entire population of children and adults that we treat
  • new teaching simulations to train the surgeons of tomorrow with state-of-the-art 3D printed heart models

Our Labs

The Division participates in research that can be broadly divided into laboratory research and epidemiologic research.

Dr. John Coles, Dr. Osami Honjo and Dr. David Barron have translational research laboratories. The division has been pre-eminent in congenital surgical epidemiology for decades. In the past five years we have moved towards obtaining funding for mechanistic and translational research. We intend to continue to pursue this course and expect to see higher impact publications in the translational field while at the same time maintaining our tradition of epidemiology research. We will also pursue innovative strategies such as further development of hybrid type surgery.

For more information, see the Research Institute.

Congenital Heart Surgeons Society Database (CHSS)

Dr. Bill Williams directs the Congenital Heart Surgeons Society Database (CHSS), which is seen as the unbiased repository of truth regarding studies in congenital heart disease. It is a key component of the division and substantially enhances the institutions reputation internationally. At various times, all members of the division have projects on cohort studies that are initiated through the divisional database.

The CHSS Data Center resides at SickKids and collects data from over 60 institutions across North America. The CHSS analyzes data collected from over 5,000 patients with lifetime follow up and generates regular publications at international meetings. A Kirklin/Ashburn Fellow trains in the Data Center to obtain a Masters or PhD degree based on statistical analysis of the CHSS cohorts. The Data Center is supported by institutional dues from all member institutions.

Clinical research

Clinical research at SickKids is based on a surgical database which was developed by Dr. Bill Williams in the early 1980s. This rich database has allowed the cardiac surgery group at SickKids to maintain a high profile in the production of new clinical knowledge in the field of congenital heart surgery.

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