February is Heart Month


February is #HeartMonth and we wanted to highlight the ways in which St. Joe’s Hospital and its Foundation are committed to exceptional cardiovascular care.

We wanted to use this opportunity to say thank you to the nearly 300 donors who raised over $300,000 to bring our redeveloped Integrated Cardiology Service to life! Your generosity will ensure the over 30,000 cardiology patients St. Joe’s sees each year have one centralized service for cardiovascular care.

Facts about cardiovascular disease:

  • Heart disease affects approximately 2.4 million Canadian adults
  • It is the second leading cause of death in Canada
  • The signs can sometimes be hard to recognize, but look for: chest discomfort, sweating, upper body discomfort, nausea, shortness of breath and light headedness
  • Some forms of heart disease are present at birth, while others develop as we age
  • Many forms of heart disease can be prevented by living an active, healthy lifestyle

For more information about cardiovascular health, knowing the signs and how to improve your heart health visit https://www.heartandstroke.ca/

St. Joe’s committment to cardiovascular care:

St. Joseph’s Cardiology Program cares for over 30,000 patients each year, and performs over 24,000 electrocardiogram (ECG) tests per year. Cardiology is an important part of our service to our community and a vital element which supports many patients across our Hospital through clinic visits and diagnostic testing each week.

The redeveloped Integrated Cardiology Service:

In October of 2019, our Hospital’s plan to transform St. Joe’s cardiology program into an Integrated Cardiology Service (ICS) began, and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation was happy to support it. The ICS will include enhanced clinical care, research and education through:

  • Co-location of services so that our patients can have all their related tests (i.e.
    electrocardiograms) completed in one place
  • An Atrial Fibrillation Clinic to better diagnose and treat the needs of our patients
  • A Pre-Operative Clinic within our Cardiology space to prepare patients for their procedure
  • Relocation of the Pacemaker Clinic to reside within the Service
  • Expanded physical space that will include a comfortable patient/family waiting room, clinic
    rooms, cutting-edge equipment, research areas, and space for diagnostic testing

In addition to an expansion of services, the ICS has tremendous potential to divert patients from the Emergency Room, thus decreasing pressure on our emergency healthcare system. It will also enhance the patient experience by decreasing wait times and bringing related services together under one umbrella and in one location, creating a one-stop-service for our patients and their cardiology needs.

Whether a patient is living with respiratory disease, diabetes or another ailment, caring for the cardiac health of that patient is vitally important. The creation of an Integrated Cardiology Service will help our physicians to better diagnose and support disorders of the heart and circulatory system.

Integrating cardiology with other disciplines will provide centralized services so patients can have related tests and procedures completed in one place. It will also foster the creation of an Urgent Cardiology Clinic for when disorders of the heart appear both suddenly and critically. As heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada, this redevelopment project will also include an expansion of the physical space within the Cardiology Unit to provide more clinic spaces and a more comfortable patient and family waiting room.

Thresa O’Sullivan – Senior Cardiac Sonographer with one of the new ECG Machines, part of the Integrated Cardiology Service.
Exam rooms in the newly renovated Urgent Cardiology Clinic, part of the Integrated Cardiology Service.
The Urgent Cardiology Clinic, part of the Integrated Cardiology Service.
New waiting room in the Urgent Cardiology Clinic, part of the Integrated Cardiology Service.