The mission of the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery (CVS) is to provide an expert model of care for children with congenital and acquired forms of heart disease throughout the complete age continuum.
All aspects of patient care are conducted under the authority of the Labatt Family Heart Centre, seamlessly integrating the CVS program with that of Cardiology. This model of care provides specialized diagnostic services, surgical treatment, and specified perioperative care pathways throughout the surgical journey of our patients. The CVS program provides the range of specialized, tertiary cardiac care required during fetal life, the neonatal period, and extending throughout childhood and adult lives of our clients, which includes patients and their families.
International support roles
In addition to patient care provided to Canadians, the Cardiac Program has an international reach, featuring direct patient care as well as logistical support, institutional consultations and assistance in program development.
The Labatt Family Heart Centre provides international leadership in cardiovascular research (please refer to Research and innovation section below). Our research programs address a wide range of fundamental and translational themes which are unified by the objective of benefitting current patients, as well as the development of technologies which imagine the next generation of cardiac care.
The Cardiac Surgical Program is proud to include elite and accomplished key staff members and trainees from many continents (please refer to our Key staff section). The diversified clinical expertise and research interests among the staff provide a live-learning nexus which is highly valued by clinical and research trainees globally.
Collectively, the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery and our connected divisions within the Labatt Family Heart Centre advocate an expert model of care as manifested by cardiac specialization at all levels of care delivery, provided by cardiac specific health professionals.
Learn more about the various areas within the Labatt Family Heart Centre.
Expand the sections below to learn more about what we do.
- The Congenital Heart Surgeons Society Data Centre
- Extracorporeal Life Support
- 3D Modelling
- Airway surgery
- Heart failure management including mechanical support and transplantation
- Adult Congenital Repairs
Perfusion Services is a department within the Labatt Family Heart Centre. A Perfusionist works within the operating room providing cardiopulmonary support for patients with complex congenital heart defects requiring corrective or palliative surgery.
Cardiovascular perfusion is employed during open-heart surgery to replace the normal functions of the heart and lungs, allowing the heart to be stopped to facilitate surgery. Perfusionists are responsible for maintaining a patient's circulation and respiration during surgery through the preparation and management of extra-corporeal circulation system. The Perfusionist collaborates within the interdisciplinary Extracorporeal Life Support services (ECLS) Program in the Critical Care Unit where children with potentially life-threatening cardiac and/or pulmonary failure unresponsive to conventional therapy, benefit from this support.
Major Orthopaedic and General Surgery patients are supported through the use of blood salvage technology within the scope of perfusion practice.
Lynn Crawford-Lean, Clinical Leader
Teraze McDougall, Perfusionist
Jacqueline Stokoe, Perfusionist
Address, Phone, Fax
SickKids Perfusion Services
555 University Avenue
Black Wing, 2nd Floor, Room 2311
David Barron, MB BS, MD, FRCP, FRCS(CT)
Head, Division of Cardiovascular Surgery
Osami Honjo, MD, FRCSC
John Coles, MD, FRCSC
Christoph Haller, MD
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
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 institution’s 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 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.
Expand the sections below to learn about Cardiovascular Surgery's fellowship opportunities.
There are four cardiac fellows/residents being trained at any given time. Every six months a cardiac resident from the University of Toronto rotates. The Division also serves as the training site for McMaster University cardiac surgical trainees. McMaster Residents are present every few years. We typically train one North American fellow each year. The remaining fellows are international with a number now being trained from Asia.
Past fellows have been become staff surgeons in countries such as South Africa, Australia, Beijing, Seoul, Canada, Berlin and the US. Some have been employed at major centres such as the Mayo Clinic, Boston Children's Hospital and the University of California.
The two-year Kirklin Fellowship, through the Congenital Heart Surgeons Society (CHSS), was established by Executive Director Dr. Bill Williams. Historically, the Division has been a major training site for congenital heart surgeons.
While we have trained many successful congenital cardiac surgeons, updating our training strategy to a more structured teaching experience for all levels of trainees will be a focus in the future, as the Division intends to develop learning objective-based teaching strategies for medical students, rotating residents and yearly fellows. Cross training of surgical and interventional fellows is currently being explored.
We accept positions on a year-to year-basis:
- Next available fellowship positions: July 1, 2023
- Application submission deadline: June 30, 2022
- Selection process will take place: September 2022
- Qualified Cardiac Surgeon or one in training
Applicant to provide the following documents by email to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Completed Fellowship Application (pdf)
- Copy of CV and a Statement of Career Goals
- Three reference letters from current or former colleagues/employers
Please note: Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Allie Altomare – Contact for Dr. Barron, Division Head
Phone: 416-813-7654, Ext: 203068
Elizabeth Kim – Contact for Drs. Honjo & Haller
Helen Trifunovski – Contact for Dr. Coles
Fellowship and Observer Program