Interview with Dr. Harry Rakowski, Cardiologist, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. (Video: UHN)

Toronto (May 20, 2016) – Physician thought leaders specializing in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a potentially deadly cardiac condition caused by an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle, will gather in Toronto on May 21 and 22nd, for the inaugural HCM Summit Toronto 2016.

"The rationale for this Summit is to see if we can get groups from around the world to work together to identify the fundamental problems in addressing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), how best to manage them and in particular how to deal with the divergence of care when it comes to these patients, on both sides of the Atlantic," says Dr. Harry Rakowski, cardiologist, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, Douglas Wigle Research Chair in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and architect of the Summit. "It is my express hope that by pooling all of our expertise, we will be able to craft guidelines for treatment and management of this rare and challenging disease, one of the important causes of sudden cardiac death," he says.

Thirty HCM medical experts from Canada, the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Australia, representing leading cardiovascular care centres including, the Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins Medicine, Harvard Medical School and the Cleveland Clinic, will take part in the day and a half-long Summit, addressing the disease from its genetic basis, detection, medical imaging, novel therapy approaches and the potential for the creation of a common international database.

"As one of Canada's leading centres in the diagnosis, management and treatment of HCM, it is incumbent on us to harness our expertise and disseminate that knowledge to the widest possible audience to positively impact patients struggling with this potentially fatal disease," says Dr. Barry Rubin, Medical Director, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, University Health Network. "This type of medical Summit is integral in pushing the envelope on what innovative therapies are possible and as importantly, establishing standards of care for HCM patients wherever they receive treatment around the world," he says.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy affects 1 in 500 Canadians. Symptoms can range from no symptoms or very few to shortness of breath, palpitations and fatigue, light headedness, fainting and in the worst cases, sudden cardiac death. It is also the most common cause of sudden death in young athletes. Treatment options include: medications (beta blockers), pacemaker, defibrillator implantation, or open-heart surgery.

About the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre

The Peter Munk Cardiac Centre is the premier cardiac centre in Canada. Since it opened in 1997, the Centre has saved and improved the lives of cardiac and vascular patients from around the world. Each year, approximately 55,000 patients receive innovative and compassionate care from multidisciplinary teams in the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, and the Centre trains more cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and vascular surgeons than any other hospital in Canada. The Centre is based at the Toronto General Hospital and the Toronto Western Hospital - members of University Health Network.

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