• By: Anne Dion

A Heartfelt Campaign

A little more than a year ago, Ottawa’s Montfort Hospital Foundation launched a campaign to raise $2.5 million for a machine that would change the lives of people in need.

The goal of the campaign – appropriately called For You, Sweet Heart – is to purchase a CT scanner featuring a specialized cardiac module.

This machine uses the most advanced technology to produce detailed three-dimensional images of vital internal organs. It would revolutionize the way heart conditions are diagnosed at Montfort. 

How it works?

While the patient lies on a stationary table, the scanner rotates in 0.275 seconds, taking 320 image slices of the patient’s heart.

The result is a 3-D image of the patient’s heart.

From this, doctors will be able to identify signs of the majority of major cardiac diseases and disorders.

The scanning process emits less radiation than other scanning methods and is completely non-invasive.

A CT Scanner at the Montfort will be a revolutionary addition, streamlining the process of diagnosis — a process which is currently characterized by more invasive procedures like angiograms.

President and CEO of the Montfort Hospital Foundation, Christine Sigouin, alongside the campaign chair, Lawrence Greenspon leads the campaign. 

“Right now we have a lot of patients who are coming to the hospital suffering from chest pains or other cardiac issues,” explained Sigouin.

The methods of diagnosis cardiologists currently rely on are stress tests and echo tests, neither are as fast or as conclusive as a CT cardiac scan.

With this current method, Sigouin said: “Often the patient will be hospitalized for several days, and needs to be transferred to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute for an angiogram.”

“Heart disease … can happen to anyone at any time as well. Every seven minutes in Canada somebody suffers from a heart attack.
When it happens very minute counts.”

The Montfort collaborates with the Heart Institute to deliver the best health care possible. Limiting the transfer of patients between locations for tests will benefit the patients’ health.

“With this new machine we’ll be able to detect in 0.275 seconds if there is a blockage. So, if the patient does require a more invasive procedure — an angioplasty or other surgeries — they will be sent to the Heart Institute.”

The For You, Sweet Heart campaign has been met with an overwhelmingly positive response so far, and is now in its final sprint. The campaign's goal will hopefully be reached later this fall.

The Montfort is unique in that it is also Ontario’s francophone academic hospital; along with the exemplary care it offers, the hospital is a learning space for medical students.

“We are a research hospital as well — we want to advance knowledge in healthcare and medicine,” Sigouin said. “An academic hospital is a hospital of excellence, so every person who walks through the door (to receive care, to visit a loved one, or to do their job) can expect to enter an exceptional environment that offers the highest standard of care and services by an unfailing commitment to continuous improvement.”

Each of the 1,700 yearly is lucky: “We’re giving them hands on experience in their discipline.” said Sigouin. “We have several teaching partners and our main one is the University of Ottawa. These dynamic students and residents are doing the latest practices in their field and they’re getting to do so alongside experienced professionals; they’re at the cutting edge of knowledge thanks to a rigorous program of continuing professional education.

"This combination of experience and energy creates a team that offers patients the very highest standard of care and a fresh perspective on their state of health.”

The hospital boasts 1,800 employees, more than 300 doctors and 450 nurses, and a very active volunteer association.

The Montfort has been known for years as a francophone space. Sigouin, however, assured that the facilities are not limited to those who speak French.

“We have a very diverse, multicultural city — although we’re an academic francophone hospital, about half our patients are anglophone. Every person in the hospital, every health care professional, doctor, staff member offers services in both official languages — as soon as a patient walks through the door, they’re asked which official language they want to be served in.”

The campaign website is foryousweetheart.com, and once there, you can make a donation to the cause. 

“Heart disease is the No. 1 case of hospitalization. It can happen to anyone at any time as well. Every seven minutes in Canada somebody suffers from a heart attack. And when it happens to them they want to be rushed to the nearest hospital — and every minute counts.”

If you wish to make a difference in the lives and in the hearts of Ottawa, visit foryousweetheart.com and make a donation. 

Help Ottawa’s heart grow . . . in more ways than one.