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Cardiology

Location:
555 University Avenue, 4th floor, Atrium
Phone:
416-813-5848
Fax:
416-813-5582
Hours:
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Monday to Friday
4 smiling medical colleagues sitting at a table with papers

The Division of Cardiology at SickKids was established in 1938, as one of the first dedicated units treating children with congenital heart disease. Over 80 years later, the Division remains one of the most prestigious and productive in the world.

As an integral partner in the Labatt Family Heart Centre, it forms an important part of a multi-disciplinary and “expert model of care” team, with dedicated cardiac intensive care facilities, world-leading imaging teams, internationally renowned interventional cardiology and electrophysiology services, and one of the largest heart function and transplant groups. 

Our vision is to be the global leader in transformational congenital cardiac care.

Programs and services

Expand the sections below to learn about programs and services offered at SickKids Cardiology.

What is Cardiac Catheterization?

The Cardiac Diagnostic and Interventional Unit (CDIU) unit consists of highly specialized doctors, nurses and other health professionals who diagnose and treat a variety of heart conditions.  

Using a specialized catheter, which is a long thin tube, and other small flexible tools, doctors can seal holes or open holes of the heart, widen narrowed passages, repair valves and obtain a sample or biopsy of the heart. Doctors can also gather information about the structure of your child’s heart and its valves; the pressure in the chambers of the heart and its blood vessels; the amount of oxygen in the chambers of the heart and its blood vessels; the amount of blood your child’s heart pumps to the body and the rhythm of the heart. The health-care team will use this as important information to create a clinical plan for your child. 

Additionally, the unit has an interventional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) suite, which helps doctors view what they are doing in real time without using radiation. 

The Cardiac Imaging team of specialists at the Hospital for Sick Children work in the CDIU to provide expert non-invasive diagnostic evaluation in the modalities of cardiac chest x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT). State-of-the-art imaging techniques are specifically tailored for each patient to provide detailed individualized information about cardiovascular anatomy, function, and hemodynamics. This information contributes to treatment decision making, surgical planning, and best patient outcomes.

Our service is comprised of three core foundations:

Excellence in patient-centered clinical care

Our team is highly subspecialized and experienced. We work in close seamless collaboration with our surgical and medical colleagues in the Labatt Family Heart Centre. Each cardiac MRI or CT is directly supervised in-person by a subspecialist cardiac imaging physician expert. We are committed to always providing the highest quality patient-centered care.

Global education and training

The Cardiac Imaging team at the Hospital for Sick Children has a strong legacy of global education and outreach. We offer a one- to two-year dedicated subspecialty fellowship in cardiovascular MRI. In addition, a two-year research fellowship in cardiovascular imaging is also available.

Transformative cardiac imaging research

The Cardiac Imaging physicians partner with imaging scientists in the SickKids Research Institute to constantly advance our imaging techniques and knowledge of disease to best care for patients.

Notable areas of academic focus include:

The Cardiac Imaging team’s top priority is to always provide exemplary individualized patient- and familycentered care to achieve the best outcomes.

Cardiac Imaging Staff

Dr. Christopher Z Lam (Interim Section Head)
Dr. Cathy Macdonald
Dr. Mike Seed
Dr. Shi-Joon Yoo

More information coming soon.

Important details about our associated can be found on our SickKids Directory via the links below.

The cardiac clinic specializes in the diagnosis and follow-up of children with congenital or acquired cardiac disease from birth to 18 years of age. We see approximately 10,000 patient visits per year, including those who require surgery, have genetic or metabolic disorders with cardiac complications or have cardiac defects that require ongoing medical management. For further information on specific cardiac defects, please visit AboutKidsHealth.

The Cardiomyopathy & Heart Function (CHF) program was founded in 2005 and since then has beenan integral section to the Division of Cardiology. The CHF program provides expertise indelivering both inpatient and outpatient care for children with heart muscle diseases like cardiomyopathies and for children with poor heart function due to a “weakheart muscle”.

For further information regarding pediatric heart failure and other pediatric cardiac conditions please see the Heart Learning Hub.

The CHF program runs a regular interdisciplinary clinic each week as well as additional specialty clinics for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Friedreich’s Ataxia, and a regularcardiomyopathy screening clinic for children with affected family members. We also provide cardiac care for children with neuromuscular diseases, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and for children whohave undergone chemotherapy for childhood cancers. In addition,the program runs a robust home inotrope program and is responsible for the care of children requiring ventricular assist devices (Treatment of heart failure in children).

The CHF team is comprised of pediatric cardiologists and nurse practitioners, dietitians, social workers, child life, occupational and physical therapists, pharmacists, and genetic counselors.

From a research standpoint, The CHF program is in the forefront of innovation with ongoing participation in a number of research activities that include novel drug trials, multi-centre registry participation, advanced genomics and stem cell research, Cardiac Precision Medicine, digital technology, and quality improvement efforts.

CHF Staff Cardiologists
  • Aamir Jeewa (Section Head)
  • Anne Dipchand
  • Emilie Jean-St-Michel
  • Lee Benson
  • Seema Mital
CHF Advanced Practice Nurses
  • Kristen George
  • Linda Fazari
Genetic Counselors
  • Laura Zahavich/Stacy Hewson
CHF Clinical Coordinator
  • Shalini Chauhan

The Echocardiography Laboratory in The Labatt Family Heart Centreprovides diagnostic cardiac ultrasound for children with suspected or known heart disease. We evaluate patients ranging from the fetus to childhood to adolescence. Using state-of-the-artequipment, ultrasounds are performed by highly skilled paediatric sonographers and interpreted by a world-class team of diagnostic physicians.

Clinical Echocardiography

The clinicalechocardiography service specializes in the recognition and assessment of structural heart defectsand the evaluation of cardiac function. Studies are performed according to well-defined imaging protocols withthe highest quality control. We introduced the innovative concept of functional paediatric echocardiography which uses the most advanced equipment for the analysis of cardiac functionand includesthree-dimensional echocardiography, tissue Doppler and myocardial strain imaging. We also provide stress echocardiography,usingeither dobutamine or supine bicycle,which allows ultrasound imaging of children during exercise.

Fetal Cardiology

Our Fetal Cardiac Program (explained later on this page) performs fetal echocardiography to diagnose heart problems in developing babies during pregnancy. After the echocardiogram is performed, multidisciplinary counseling is provided by members of the team who work closely with other prenatal care providers. This program also provides fetal treatment and intervention for certain abnormalities or diseases.

Research

We have an integrated Cardiovascular Ultrasound Research Program which develops and explores the clinical utility of newer echocardiographic techniques for the diagnosis and management of paediatric cardiovascular disease. Established in 2005, we offer a unique environment for cardiovascular imaging research where researchers, engineers, and research sonographers collaborate to study vascular and cardiac function in children.

Education

Our laboratory is dedicated to educatingand training both physicians and sonographers. Using a structured hand-on training program, we aim to teach our imaging protocols as well as our approach to image optimization. We also offer the opportunity for observers from all over the world to see our laboratory in action. We host the Echocardiography Course on Congenital Heart Diseasewhich features an international faculty of experts and aims to improve the knowledge of those who perform and/or interpret paediatric echocardiograms.

Our Team
The Echocardiography Laboratory isalargeteam of physicians, sonographers, nurses, fellows andadministrative staff. The team is led by Dr. Luc Mertens (Echocardiography) and Dr. Jaeggi together with Dr. Freud (Fetal Cardiology). The team managers are Lauren Skanes (clinical) and Christine Kerr (research).

More information coming soon.

The Fetal Cardiac Program of the Labatt Family Heart Centre at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is made up of a multidisciplinary team that provides detailed evaluation, counseling and treatment for heart problems in the developing baby during pregnancy. We work closely with family doctors, midwivescommunity and high-risk obstetricians throughout Ontario, as well as geneticists and other pediatric subspecialistsWe partner with Mount Sinai Hospital to provide a range of fetal therapy through the Ontario Fetal Centre.  The Fetal Cardiac Program is a teaching program in affiliation with the University of Toronto. 

Heart problems in the developing baby may result from abnormal development of the heart (congenital heart disease), heart rhythm disturbances, complications from twin pregnancies, genetic conditions and health problems in the mother that affect the baby, including illness, medications and other exposures. 

The goals of the Fetal Cardiac Program are to ensure that families receive the highest quality of care for potential heart problems during pregnancy; to advance our understanding of the evolution of heart disease in the developing baby; and to provide ongoing educational support to families and providers alike.  We proudly serve as a local, national and international referral center for fetal cardiac care, research, and teaching.    

Learn about the Fetal Cardiac Program, including how to make a referral, clinic details, what to expect during a visit and more on our Clinic Directory.

Research

Research is one of the foundations of the Fetal Cardiac Program. Many of the advances in imaging and care for babies with heart problems during pregnancy have come from research and particularly from the internationally renowned research team at SickKids. 

During your visit, you may be approached regarding participation in a research project. Participation in any research is voluntary and will not affect the care you and your baby receive at SickKids. 

Examples of current projects include: 

  • FAST and SLOW trial/registry to understand fast and slow fetal rhythm problems 
  • Maternal Hyperoxygenation and MATCH studies to assess the effects of acute and chronic oxygen delivery on heart and brain development 

Teaching

The Fetal Cardiac Program provides on-going education to sonographers, fellows, cardiologists, obstetricians, radiologists, geneticists, nurses, midwives and other allied health practitioners involved in the prenatal diagnosis and management of pregnancies affected with or at risk of fetal cardiac conditions. 

Courses and Symposiums

We offer both a one-day basic course and a 3-days advanced symposium. Both courses are submitted for review to the Canadian Paediatric Society for CME/MOC credits and Sonography Canada for CPD/CME/ARDMS credits. 

The 1-day course provides information on normal cardiac anatomy, the recommended views to screen for major heart defects and those lesions that may be detected on a routine ultrasound examination. It is presented in an interactive format that encourages audience participation, including case presentations that allow individuals to test their knowledge level. 

The 3-days advanced symposium provides more in-depth review and discussion of advances in fetal cardiology and care of the fetal cardiac patient and family. Lecturers and participants include local, national and international experts in Fetal Cardiology, High-Risk Maternal Fetal Medicine, Prenatal Diagnosis/Medical Genetics, and other allied health practitioners with interest and expertise in caring for this population. 

Visit www.torontofetalcardiaccourse.com for more info. 

Fetal Cardiac Outreach Program 

The Fetal Outreach Program also provides on-site training and education for diagnostic ultrasound laboratories evaluating women during pregnancy. This training is provided by a specialized member of our team. 

Visit the official Heart Centre Biobank, a provincial and international research network aimed at improving outcomes in heart disease through enhanced prevention and treatment.

The SickKids Heart Transplant Program provides the expertise and services needed to take care of patients of all ages who need or have a heart transplant. Ages range from newborn infantsto late adolescent patients; with diagnoses of congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathies, cardiac rhythm problemsand others. Post-transplant care is provided by a multi-disciplinary team approach that includes transplant nursing specialists, social workers, dietitians, occupational and physical therapists, pharmacists as well as paediatric transplant cardiologists. There is an active fellowship training program training the next generation of heart transplant specialists.

There is an active research componentwhich explores novel aspects of transplantation medicine, including personalized medicine, newer approaches to dealingwith the immune system (i.e. ABO incompatible transplantation, sensitized patients) and novel approaches to the diagnosis and management of the most common post-transplant complications.

Heart Transplant Cardiologists
  • Dr. Anne Dipchand (Section Head, Heart Transplantation)
  • Dr. Aamir Jeewa
  • Dr. Emilie Jean-St-Michel
  • Dr. Seema Mital
Heart Transplant Surgeons
  • Dr. Osami Honjo (Surgical Director, Heart Transplantation)
  • Dr. David Barron
  • Dr. Christoph Haller
  • Dr. John Coles
Heart Transplant Team
  • Lauren Scavuzzo –Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Mirna Seifert-Hansen –Registered Nurse
  • Michelle Ennis –Information Coordinator
  • Louise Bannister –Dietitian
  • Robin Deliva –Physiotherapy
  • Ruta Niedra –Social Work
  • Heather Telfer –Social Work
  • Mayola Mathew –Social Work
  • Sabina Spataro –Child Life
  • Vanessa Gaglia –Occupational Therapy

Information coming soon.

Information coming soon.

Who we are

Expand the section below to see a full listing.

Empty lecture hall of 15 rows and a speaking podium

Education and training opportunities

The Division of Cardiology offers medical education in three programs: 

  • The Fellowship Program is accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for the training of paediatricians interested in pursuing a career in Paediatric Cardiology in a Core comprehensive Training Program and/or a Paediatric Cardiology Subspecialty Training Program. 
  • The Elective Program in Paediatric Cardiology is open to medical students, paediatric residents and paediatric cardiology residents and fellows. 
  • The Observership Program in Paediatric Cardiology is open to international medical school graduates who are board-eligible or certified in Paediatric Cardiology, are not licensed to practice in Canada, and are interested in gaining experience at The Hospital for Sick Children.  

The Paediatric Cardiology Core Fellowship with the Labatt Family Heart Centre – Division of Cardiology at the Hospital for Sick Children is a three-year comprehensive training program accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Throughout the three years the fellows will participate in clinical rotations that are structured to allow trainees to develop clinical skills in the day-to-day care of paediatric cardiology patients.

They will also have designated time for research, opportunities to present their research work and a full series of lectures in an academic half day setting with a focus on critical appraisal, evidence-based medicine and research theory. Trainees will meet regularly with the Program Director and committee members to review progress and to provide mentorship regarding elective rotations and career counseling. 

The Division of Cardiology also offers one-year Paediatric Cardiology Subspecialty Fellowships in the following areas: 

  • Cardiac MRI 
  • Echocardiography 
  • Electrophysiology 
  • Fetal Echocardiography 
  • Interventional Catheterization 
  • Transplant and Heart Function 

Upon completion of the three-year core fellowship training program, trainees are eligible to participate in a one-year subspecialty program. 

Eligibility: 
  • You must be a licensed paediatrician  
  • Canadians, North Americans and International trainees 
Upon completion of the program: 
  • Only Canadians will be eligible to write the Royal College Certification Exam 
  • All other trainees will receive a certificate confirming the completion of the program 
Funding: 

There are two types of funding possible for Clinical Fellowship: 

  1. The Hospital for Sick Children Payroll: These positions are fully funded by the Fellowship Program. 
  2. Externally Funded: These positions may be funded by an outside institution or scholarship. There is a strict requirement with respect to the minimum salary required. A funding confirmation letter must be provided by an institution or scholarship. 
Application process: 

The academic year starts on July 1 and ends on June 30. Trainees are expected to start on July 1 and all requirements must be in place prior to the start date. 

Applications should include the following documents: 

  • A completed online Fellowship Application Form (online applications will open September 2020 for the academic year commencing on July 1, 2022) 
  • An up-to-date Curriculum Vitae (please include date of birth, home address, country of birth) 
  • A Letter of Intent 
  • Medical Degree (English translation if required) 
  • Paediatrics Subspecialty Certificate (English translation if required) 
  • Three reference letters including one from your current Program Director 
Deadlines: 

Core Fellowship - applications will be accepted up to March 15, 2021 for the academic year commencing July 1, 2022. 

Subspecialty Fellowships – applications will be accepted up to January 31, 2021 for the academic year commencing July 1, 2022. 

If you are interested in a Research Fellowship, please see the Heart Centre's Research Fellowship Opportunities.

The Electives Program with The Labatt Family Heart Centre – Division of Cardiology at The Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto is open to medical students, paediatric residents and paediatric cardiology residents and fellows. 

Medical Students 

University of Toronto Medical Students  

If you are eligible and interested in pursuing an elective with The Labatt Family Heart Centre – Division of Cardiology, please send your requested start and end dates and your most current CV (that includes date of birth, citizenship status and email address) to cardiology.MedEd@sickkids.ca 

Once available dates have been confirmed and elective request has been approved by the Division, University of Toronto Medical Students can book their elective through the MedSIS registration system. MedSIS is made available to students in September of the third year of the UME curriculum. Electives may be 2-4 weeks in duration. In accordance with the AFMC guidelines for electives, students are expected to complete elective experiences in a minimum of three of the CaRMS first-level entry residency programs. The requirement for three disciplines may be achieved through any combination of electives and the selective components of the Transition to Residency course.  

Visiting Medical Students (Canadian Medical Students outside of UofT, US and International Medical Students) 

Please review the details provided at the AFMC Student Portal to determine your eligibility.  

Electives are available for a maximum of 4 weeks.  

If you are eligible and interested in pursuing an elective with The Labatt Family Heart Centre – Division of Cardiology, please send your requested start and end dates and your most current CV (that includes date of birth, citizenship status and email address) to cardiology.MedEd@sickkids.ca 

Once available dates have been confirmed and elective request has been approved by the Division, visiting medical students may submit elective applications through the AFMC Student Portal.  

All elective applications are processed and must be approved by the Elective Office, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. 

Resident Electives 

Please review the details provided at the Postgraduate Medical Education Office (PGME) at the University of Toronto to determine your eligibility. 

If you are eligible and interested in pursuing an elective with The Labatt Family Heart Centre – Division of Cardiology, please send your requested start and end dates and your most current CV (that includes date of birth, citizenship status and email address) to cardiology.MedEd@sickkids.ca 

Canadian Resident Electives 

Once available dates have been confirmed, please apply through the University of Toronto’s PGME Electives Program portal. 

International Resident Electives 

Once available dates have been confirmed, please submit the following application package (in PDF or MS Word format) to cardiology.MedEd@sickkids.ca 

  • Written permission from the current program director at the applicant’s home university 
  • Letter from the applicant’s home institution confirming full financial support for the duration of the elective training and that this funding is in accordance with the scale of remuneration of the PARO-CAHO Agreement OR the trainee’s sponsoring agency confirming its approval.  
  • Medical Degree (English translation if required) 
  • Photocopy of passport that contains the applicant’s photograph, personal details, issuing country and passport expiry dare 

In order for international trainees to apply they need to be 

  • Registered and in good standing in a medical program at a university medical school at a PGY 3 level 
  • Paid by their medical school/training program during their elective time and that their funding is in accordance with the scale of remuneration of the PARO-CAHO Agreement 
  • Eligible for licensure by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO).   

The application process takes approximately 8-9 months to complete.  Final approval is granted once all requirements have been met as required by the PGME Office at the University of Toronto and the CPSO for licensure. 

Fellow Electives 

Paediatric Cardiology Fellow Electives requesting to complete an elective must request permission from Dr. Jennifer Russell, Subspecialty Program Director.  

This email should be sent to cardiology.MedEd@sickkids.ca and include the following: 

  • Letter of Intent 
  • Up-to-date Curriculum Vitae 
  • Preferred Start and End Dates 
  • Approval Letter from the trainee’s current Program Director approving the elective  

Please note that due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, we are unable to accept any observers at this time 

Eligibility:  

The Observership Program with The Labatt Family Heart Centre – Division of Cardiology at The Hospital for Sick Children is open to international medical school graduates who are board-eligible or certified in Paediatric Cardiology, and are not licensed to practice in Canada, and are interested in gaining experience at The Hospital for Sick Children. 

Students, medical students and other physicians without substantial cardiology experience will NOT be accepted. 

Observers shall not have any patient care responsibilities and shall not begin a term without prior approval by the Medical Affairs Office. Observers will not participate in any direct patient contact and therefore do not require an Independent or Educational license from the CPSO. 

Cost: 

A non-refundable observer application fee of $175 is applicable to observers (> 2 days). 

Deadlines: 

Observership applications will be accepted up to two months prior to an agreed upon start date. 

Application process: 

Interested applicants are requested to send their most recent CV and Letter of Intent with their requested dates and subspecialty (list below) for approval cardiology.MedEd@sickkids.ca.  

Subspecialties: 
  • Echocardiography 
  • Fetal Echocardiography 
  • Electrophysiology 
  • Cardiac Intervention 
  • Cardiac MRI 
  • Heart Function and Transplantation 
  • Preventative Cardiology 

Trainees will be notified if their application has been approved.

Contact SickKids Cardiology

 

General Inquiries:

Sue Morton

sue.morton@sickkids.ca

Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 202459

Fax: 416-813-7547

 

Fellowship, Elective and Observership Information:

Ashley Cunha

cardiology.meded@sickkids.ca

Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 207467

Fax: 416-813-7547

 

Clinic:

Phone: 416-813-5848

Fax: 416-813-5582

Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Monday to Friday

Location:  4th Floor, Atrium

 

Address:

Division of Cardiology

The Hospital for Sick Children

Room 1725

555 University Ave.

Toronto, Ontario

M5G 1X8, Canada

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