As part of UHN's global commitment to education and research, many staff share stories about travel­ing to distant countries, sharing best practices and helping patients. But it's not everyday that physicians are able to showcase skills in their own backyard to a group of foreign health care providers.

That is precisely what Dr. Vlad Dzavik, Director of Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory (Cath Lab) in the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, did in a medical education event this October.

The centre hosted a group of 15 Latin American and Canadian cardiologists for a "Complex Cases" course in Interventional Cardiology supported by the Cordis Cardiac & Vascular Institute. The workshop was an educational forum designed for physicians and nurses with a specific interest in the transradial (through the wrist) approach to complex coronary angioplasty.

"The transradial approach is ben­eficial for patients because there are fewer complications, including reduced bleeding," says Dr. Dzavik, who has performed a few thousand transradial procedures. "About 30 percent of the interventions performed at the centre use this approach, much higher than the United States where the number is less than five percent."

Several complex patient cases were lined up for October 5 and 6 for cardiologists to tackle in the Cath Lab. The lab was wired to broadcast the procedure to a TGH conference room where the visiting healthcare team could watch the procedure, see the patient's vital information and talk to the cardiologist performing the angioplasty.

"It was like the visiting healthcare team was sitting in an IMAX theatre watching the procedure," says Grigory Vainberg, Manager of Audio Visual Services, who oversaw the workshop's technical portion. "This was the first time we were able to provide observers with such a comprehensive view of the procedure."

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), commonly known as angioplasty, is a therapeutic procedure to treat the narrowed coronary arteries of the heart found in coronary heart disease. These narrowed arteries are due to the buildup of cholesterol plaques that form due to atherosclerosis.

Canada is at the forefront of research and the subsequent treatment for patients with coronary artery disease. The Peter Munk Cardiac Centre is a leading research and development centre that is home to many of the country's top interventional cardiologists. Each year, 1.7 million patients worldwide undergo PCI, and Canada completes a significant share— 55,000 PCIs per year.

"Participating in these workshops is important because it allows cardiologists to share expertise and collaborate with international physicians to determine the best treatment techniques for our patients," Dr. Dzavik says.

Soon, the medical education team hopes to expand the IT capabilities and broadcast live PCI cases beyond the hospital to international meetings in cities around the world.​​

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