Laura McArthur runs an animal sanctuary and is used to saving lives – not having her life saved. (Photo: UHN)

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at UHN. In honour of this milestone, the centre has launched a living library with extraordinary stories of discovery, innovation and exceptional patient care. Explore world-first breakthroughs in heart and vascular care, witness life-saving interdisciplinary collaborations and celebrate the rich history of Canada's leading cardiovascular centre at

Laura McArthur is used to saving lives – not having her life saved.

The 66-year-old runs a sanctuary for 300 farm animals, taking in horses, pigs and cows, among other animals, that no longer have a home. A former farmer, McArthur puts her heart into her rescue.

"My approach is: 'Let's do some good,'" she says.

That same philosophy shapes the work carried out at the Centre of Excellence in Aortic Disease at UHN's Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. Researchers, surgeons, interventional radiologists and anesthesiologists work in tandem to carry out some of Canada's most complex surgeries performed on the aorta, the main artery which carries blood through the chest and body.

They treat patients with aortic aneurysms – dangerous bulges in the aorta – and aortic dissections – a life-threatening condition that occurs when the aorta ruptures, causing internal bleeding.

And they give them another chance at life.

"We get calls from medical teams everywhere for insight and advice," says Dr. Tom Lindsay, a vascular surgeon at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. "We've developed expertise and continue to bring in new people with new expertise from the most experienced places in the world to build an aortic team that can manage the entire aorta.

"​It's why we get a high percentage of the tough cases."

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