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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Luc Mertens, MD, PhD

The Hospital for Sick Children
Section Head, Echocardiography

Research Institute
Associate Scientist
Translational Medicine

University of Toronto

Phone: 416-813-7418
Fax: 416-813-5857
Email: luc.mertens@sickkids.ca

For more information, visit:

The Labatt Family Heart Centre 

Brief Biography

Dr. Mertens graduated from medical school at the University of Leuven in Belgium in 1992. Afterwards, he was a researcher for the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research performing molecular biology research at the
Laboratory of Physiology in the University of Leuven, Belgium. This resulted in a PhD thesis on the regulation of expression of the SERCA2 gene in muscle in 1995. Dr. Mertens specialized in paediatrics and
paediatric cardiology at the University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium, and spent one year as a research fellow in the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. In 1999 he became a consultant paediatric cardiologist at the University
of Leuven where he worked until 2008. There, he developed his clinical research in the field of paediatric echocardiography with research focused on new echocardiographic techniques to assess cardiac function in
children. He became one of the leaders in the field of paediatric echocardiography in Europe, and was active as Secretary of Imaging Working Groups of the Association for European Paediatric Cardiology (AEPC), Board
Member of the European Association for Echocardiography, and Council member of the AEPC. He was involved in developing teaching and accreditation in paediatric echocardiography in Europe.

Clinical Care Activities

Section Head of the Echocardiography Laboratory with special interest in cardiac functional assessment.

Research Interests

Cardiac function in children with acquired and congenital heart disease.

Research Activities 

Echocardiographic research on the detection of cardiac dysfunction in children, especially cardiac mechanics and integration of mathematical modeling into better understanding cardiac function in children.


Reybrouck T, Vangesselen S, Mertens L, Gewillig M: Increased interbreath variability of gas exchange during exercise in children with cardiomyopathy.Heart 2007:93(3): pp 377-8. .

Thienpont B, Mertens L, Buyse G, Vermeesch JR, Devriendt K: Left-ventricular non-compaction in a patient with monosomy 1p36. European Journal of Medical Genetics 2007: 50(3): pp233-6. Epub 2007
Jan 27.

Thienpont B, Mertens L, de Ravel T, Eyskens B, Boshoff D, Maas N, Fryns JP, Gewillig M, Vermeesch JR, Devriendt K: Submicroscopic chromosomal imbalances detected by array-CGH are a frequent cause of congenital heart defects in selected patients. European Heart Journal 2007: 28(22): pp2778-84. Epub 2007 Mar 23.

Boshoff DE, Bethuyne N, Gewillig M, Mertens L, Eyskens B, Bakir I, Verbeken E, Daenen W, Meyns B: Endovascular stenting of juvenile vessels: consequence of surgical stent removal on vessel architecture. European
Heart Journal 2007: 28(8): pp1033-6. Epub 2007 Mar 29.

Ganame J, Claus P, Eyskens B, Uyttebroeck A, Renard M, D'hooge J, Gewillig M, Bijnens B, Sutherland GR, Mertens L: Acute cardiac functional and morphological changes after Anthracycline infusions in children.
American Journal of Cardiology 2007: 99(7): pp 974-7. Epub 2007 Feb 16.

Mertens L, Meyns B, Gewillig M: Device fracture and severe tricuspid regurgitation after percutaneous closure of perimembranous ventricular septal defect: A case report. Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions 2007: 70(5): pp 749-53.

Mertens L: Deciphering the mystery of the leaky pulmonary valve in a new era of interventional cardiology. European Heart Journal 2007:28(15): pp1793-4. Epub 2007 Jun 26.
Ganame J, Claus P, Uyttebroeck A, Renard M, D'hooge J, Bijnens B, Sutherland GR, Eyskens B, Mertens L: Myocardial dysfunction late after low-dose anthracycline treatment in asymptomatic pediatric patients.
Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography 2007: 20(12):pp1351-8. Epub 2007 Jul 2.

Missant C, Rex S, Claus P, Mertens L, Wouters PF: Load-sensitivity of regional tissue deformation in the right ventricle: isovolumic versus ejection-phase indices of contractility. Heart 2008: 94(4):e15 Epub 2007
Aug 8.

Reybrouck T, Vangesselen S, Mertens L, Gewillig M: Efficiency of oxygen cost during exercise in patients with symptoms of fatigue during physical activities. Acta Paediatrica 2007: 96(9): pp 1311-4.

Ganame J, Mertens L, Eidem BW, Claus P, D’hooge J, Havemann LM , McMahon CJ, Elayda MA, Vaughn WK, Towbin JA, Ayres NA , Pignatelli RH: Regional myocardial deformation in children with hypertrophic
cardiomyopathy: morphological and clinical correlations. European Heart Journal 2007: 28(23): pp2886-94. Epub 2007 Oct 30

Mertens L, Ganame J, Eyskens B: What is new in pediatric cardiac imaging? European Journal of Pediatrics 2008: pp167(1): 1-8. Epub 2007 Jul 10. Review. Jul 10

Acharya G, Räsänen J, Mäkikallio K, Erkinaro T, Kavasmaa T, Haapsamo M, Mertens L, Huhta JC: Metabolic acidosis decreases fetal myocardial isovolumic velocities in a chronic sheep model of increased placental
vascular resistance. American Journal of Physiology Heart Circulation Physiolology 2008: 294(1): ppH498-504. Epub 2007 Nov 16.

Mertens L , Eyskens B, Boshoff D, Gewillig M: The Safety and Efficacy of  Clopidogrel in Children with Heart Disease: a Retrospective Case Review. Journal of Pediatrics 2008: pp153(1):61-4 Epub 2008 Mar 6.

Mertens L , Ganame J, Claus P, Goemans N, Thijs D, Eyskens B, Van Laere D, Bijnens B, D’hooge J, Sutherland GR, Buyse G: Early regional myocardial dysfunction in young patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography. 2008: 21(9): pp1049-54.

Gename J, Pignatelli RH, Eidem BW, Claus P, D’hooge J, McMahon CJ, Buyse G, Towbin JA, Ayres NA, Mertens L. Myocardial deformation abnormalities in paediatric hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: are all aetiologies identical? European Journal of Echocardiography 2008: Apr 27

Buyse GM, Van der Mieren G, Erb M, D’hooge J, Herijgers P, Verbeken E, Jara A, Van Den Bergh A, Mertens L, Courdier-Fruh I, Barzaghi P, Meier T. Long-term blinded placebo-controlled study of SNT-MC17/idebenone in the
dystrophin deficient mdx mouse: cardiac protection and improved exercise performance. European Heart Journal 2008: Sep 10 

D’hondt B, Rega F, Mertens L, Gewillig M, Meyns B. Primary cardiac fibroma: a rising giant in a small cavity-size does matter. Heart Surgical Forum 2008:11(3):ppE134-6