A record number of mechanical heart transplants have been performed at St. Paul’s Hospital this year, more than any other program of its kind in Canada, according to the Provincial Health Services Authority.
Ten patients have received ventricular assist devices since January — five this month alone and three within 24 hours.
Al Smith, 61, recently underwent the procedure at St. Paul’s.
“I know the heart’s not going to get any better, but down the road I hope once I recover from this I’ll be back on the (road to recovery),” he said.
Without the procedure most of the patients, two of whom are 19- and 22-years-old, would have died, doctors said yesterday.
Andrew Ignaszewski, head of cardiology at PHC, said more than 70,000 people in B.C. suffer from heart disease.
“Until recently, the only life-saving procedure was heart transplantation,” he said.