Where your care begins
Picture yourself in a hospital
In your mind’s eye, you might see a doctor, stethoscope hanging from their neck. Or maybe it’s a nurse, outfitted in scrubs, ready at your bedside with a reassuring smile. These images are familiar to us because they are drawn from our own experience. Everyone has a care story to tell. Where does yours begin? The answer might surprise you.
The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is the country’s largest and foremost cardiovascular care centre dedicated to understanding, preventing, and treating heart disease.
It's where world-class scientists and clinicians work together to study heart disease and related areas of health and bring that knowledge from bench to bedside. Research at the Heart Institute is so seamlessly integrated with clinical care, you might say it’s in our D-N-A. Here, research is where your care begins.
We invite you to discover
The need for research has never been more important
Valve disease and cardiac arrhythmias are staggeringly high. Heart failure incidence is booming. Brain-heart conditions are prevalent in the population, and rare diseases are becoming commonplace. In Canada, we will likely feel the fallout from COVID-19 for many more years to come. As one of the world’s leading health research centres, scientists at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, have a major role to play. To make heart disease history, we must continuously research solutions to the complex health problems of our time.
Every day in our labs, research teams make breakthrough discoveries that tip the scale in our fight against cardiovascular disease in our favour. Translating our findings into clinical applications is leading to earlier diagnosis, prevention and treatment of rare diseases and other health problems, faster recovery times, and improved quality of life for thousands in our care and millions beyond our walls. The research we do here is unbounded; it has a global impact.
We’ve categorized the questions our scientists are investigating today into four distinct themes. These are our scientific priorities through to the year 2024:
Discovery to translational innovations
Scientists in our laboratories produce lifesaving discoveries and innovative treatments that are but a short walk from the patient's bedside. Doctors' observations and patient input are fed directly back to the scientist. It is this unique combination of research and patient care that sets us apart from other centres.
We’re big believers that precision medicine is the future of health care. An increasingly complex and specialized world needs world-class, patient-centered care. Eagerly pursuing major advancements in this area is essential.
Big data and artificial intelligence
It’s much more than number crunching and sophisticated algorithms. The information we're learning from big data and artificial intelligence is valuable in the development of precision-based diagnosis and treatment strategies, as well as tools to aid doctors and patients in clinical decision making.
Healthy diverse populations
We’re passionate about understanding the effects of sex and gender on cardiovascular health, Indigenous heart health, and other health disparities.
A team-based approach to patient-centered care
Research and rapid advancements in technology have given rise to a new generation of experts and clinical investigators and clinicians more specialized in various fields of cardiovascular disease than ever before. As a result, cross-disciplinary collaborations are becoming increasingly important for patient care and medical decision-making. Patients receive better, personalized treatment, and medical decisions are made more easily with the provision of heart teams.
Heart teams are interdisciplinary groups of medical experts working together for patient-centered care. At the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, this team-based approach facilitates collaborative research and education and high-level training across specialties, which, in turn, improves outcomes for patients and their families.
We have established eight specialized heart teams to focus on the most common cardiovascular diseases, harmonize care in complex units (such as critical care or cardiac imaging), and address the concerns of specific patient populations
Heart teams caring for you
Enhances prevention strategies, facilitates earlier detection of disease, and evaluates novel drug development.
Improves screening, triaging, and follow-up strategies and processes, and identifies optimal treatment solutions for patients with complex arrhythmia.
Complex coronary revascularization
Develops novel processes for identifying patients at risk of a complex multi-vessel disease and delivers the best solutions for each patient.
Complex critical care
Ensures a uniform, cross-functional model of critical care services and evaluates the quality of care provided to critically ill patients. More specifically, the team focuses on mechanical circulatory support and the collaboration between the medical and surgical sides of cardiac care in cardiogenic shock.
Identifies initiatives to improve care and outcomes for heart failure patients through strengthening the Heart Institute’s regional hub-and-spoke model of care.
Valvular heart disease
Identifies initiatives to improve care and outcomes for patients with valvular heart disease through collaboration and innovation.
To better deliver on our mission and vision for the future, we established a heart team specialized in virtual care and comprised of interdisciplinary experts and champions.
Women's heart health
This team works across the fundamental pillars of research, clinical services, education, and awareness about cardiovascular health in women.
Discovery and innovation are the cornerstones of patient-centered care
The University of Ottawa Heart Institute attracts top-tier researchers from across Canada and around the world to address major questions in cardiovascular health. Our researchers collaborate with investigators across the Ottawa region and beyond in harmonized groups called innovation hubs. Each hub draws on the unique skills and experience of renown experts in their field. Together, researchers transform innovations and breakthroughs in healthcare into real-world solutions to today’s leading health challenges.
Innovation hubs use research tools, such as laboratory techniques, data science, imaging, and clinical trials to better understand, treat, and prevent heart disease. Projects address issues representing the population we serve with consideration to gender, ethnicity, remote communities, and other social determinant factors.
Innovation hubs improving cardiac care in Ottawa and beyond: Atherosclerosis and other cardiometabolic diseases; brain and heart; arrhythmias; heart failure; and valvular heart disease.
Atherosclerosis and other cardiometabolic diseases
Atherosclerosis is a dangerous disease causing the buildup of plaque inside the inner lining of the arteries. Too much plaque creates blockages that lead to heart attacks. That’s why scientists are studying atherosclerosis and other cardiometabolic diseases, such as diabetes, to learn more about how they develop and progress. Only through this advanced research can scientists discover new treatments, better interventions, and prevention strategies to support patients living with these conditions.
Brain and heart
There is an intrinsic connection between the brain and the heart; their health is inextricably linked. That’s why we are investing in cutting-edge research to unlock this key knowledge gap and bridge the translation of discovery and innovation into real-world solutions. Teams of cardiovascular and neurobiology scientists, cardiologists, psychologists and psychiatrists are already making a difference, shedding light on the impact of mental wellness on heart disease, and informing novel psychological and behavioural interventions to improve mental and cardiovascular health. Our research will lead to new screening tools and strategies to detect brain-heart diseases earlier. Our goal is to pioneer a patient-centred neuro-cardiac care model to improve heart and brain health for all.
Arrhythmias, heart failure, and valvular heart disease
Through our research in these hubs, we are helping doctors detect and treat patients with cardiac disorders, such as arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy, heart failure and valvular heart disease. Our work is essential for earlier diagnoses, improved treatment and prevention mechanisms, and better outcomes for patients with complex cardiac conditions that are often difficult to treat. Data analytics, large-scale sequencing studies, smart technologies, imaging techniques and computer-simulated 3D models teach us about these conditions so that we can do more to help those who suffer from them.
Results so far are both tangible and promising. It’s clear the work we are putting in today will have profound implications for the patients of tomorrow – your parents, your siblings, your children, you. What we are discovering here and in laboratories across the country is helping doctors everywhere make accurate diagnoses in the examination room and life-saving decisions at the bedside. Through our collaborative efforts, we are inspiring the gold-standard therapies, treatments, interventions and prevention strategies of the future.