A patient for life
Michael Bannock Jr.
Michael Bannock Jr. will live with congenital heart disease and be under the care of Peter Munk Cardiac Centre physicians for his entire life.

Care doesn’t stop for people with congenital heart disease.

College can be stressful at the best of times, but in 2019, when Michael Bannock Jr. was midway through his studies in radio broadcasting, the aspiring sports reporter had a lot more on his mind than exams. Born with congenital heart disease, Bannock was at risk of developing complications from the life-saving operation he underwent before his first birthday. “As a teenager, I was told I was going to need another major surgery, which was a scary thought,” he says. Now at 24, the time for that open-heart surgery had come.

Bannock is one of 257,000 Canadian adults alive today whose hearts didn’t develop normally before birth. These individuals have congenital heart disease and must be monitored their entire lives. Most will require additional procedures to keep their hearts functioning as they grow older.

Bannock came to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) Program from Toronto’s SickKids when he was 18. The long-ago repair to widen a narrow valve in Bannock’s heart only partially worked. For years, his right heart-pumping chamber had been forced to work harder to cope with the “backup,” causing it to grow abnormally large. Without an operation to replace the valve, the heart muscle could get too weak to do its job, leading to heart failure, which carries an average life expectancy of 2.1 years from diagnosis. “We didn’t want to get to a point where they couldn’t operate,” Bannock recalls.